Worst is yet to come, WHO warns

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The head of the World Health Organization has warned that the coronavirus pandemic is not even close to being over.

It has now been six months since the first cases of a mysterious pneumonia-like illness were reported in Wuhan, China.

At the time it was feared that we would see a repeat of the Sars outbreak of 2002 to 2004, which killed 774 people.

Now, with more than 500,000 people dead and more than 10 million confirmed cases worldwide, WHO director-general Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus has said this is “a moment for all of us to reflect”, the BBC reported.

But, he warned, the “worst is yet to come” – adding that “with this kind of environment and conditions, we fear the worst”.

Despite progress in some countries, he said the pandemic was speeding up and the world would need even greater stores of resilience, patience and generosity in the months ahead.

“Six months ago, none of us could have imagined how our world – and our lives – would be thrown into turmoil by this new virus,” Tedros said at the WHO press conference.

Meanwhile, the WHO chief said that all countries living with COVID-19 will be the new normal in the coming months, as the pandemic had already infected more than 10 million people worldwide, including more than 500,000 deaths.

“The critical question that all countries will face in the coming months is how to live with this virus. That is the new normal,” Tedros said, Xinhua news agency reported.

He added that although many countries have made some progress against the COVID-19, the pandemic is speeding up globally.

According to the latest WHO numbers, as of 2 a.m. IST on Monday, the total infected population worldwide had reached 10,199,798, including 502,947 deaths.

“The pandemic has brought out the best and the worst of humanity,” he continued. “All over the world, we have seen heartwarming acts of resilience, inventiveness, solidarity, and kindness. But we have also seen concerning signs of stigma, misinformation and the politicization of the pandemic.”

He urged all countries to prioritize five sets of measures to save lives, including empowering communities and individuals to protect themselves and others, suppressing virus transmission, saving lives with oxygen and dexamethasone for instance, accelerating research on COVID-19, and strengthening political leadership and solidarity.Tedros also announced an updated and detailed timeline of the WHO’s response to the pandemic for the public to understand how the UN health body has been responding to the outbreak.