Coronavirus will be with us for long time, says WHO
As deaths across the globe due to COVID-19 continue unabated, the World Health Organization (WHO) on Wednesday warned that the coronavirus is here to stay. Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, who heads the global organization, said countries can't show a complacent attitude and relax lockdown as the virus could "re-ignite". He also defended WHO's handling of the pandemic. Here's more on what he said.
Countries where virus was "in control" can't relax either
Speaking at WHO's headquarters in Geneva, Tedros said "resurgence" was reported from some countries where the virus was believed to "be in control". There was also a worrying upward trend in some nations. "Most epidemics in Europe appear to be stable or declining, although numbers are low we see worrying upward trends in Africa, Central, and South America and Central Europe," he said.
It started in China; US is now worst-affected
After the outbreak happened in China's Wuhan in December 2019, the highly contagious virus wreaked havoc across the world. The total death toll stands at 184,230 and 2,637,790 have been infected. The worst-affected nation is the US, where 47,676 lives have been lost and 848,994 are infected. In Italy, the death toll is 25,085 and in Spain, it is 21,717.
Miffed with WHO, Trump halted funding
Earlier, US President Donald Trump halted funding to WHO after being miffed that the United Nations' unit didn't take proactive steps to deal with the pandemic. He also accused the WHO of being biased towards China and believing whatever the Asian country said at face value. But WHO said now was not the time to freeze funds when it was only concerned about the pandemic.
WHO wants US to reconsider its decision
"I hope the freezing of the funding will be reconsidered and the US will once again support WHO's work and continue to save lives. I hope the US believes that this an important investment," Tedros said.
Tedros doesn't think WHO took a lax approach
Speaking on allegations that WHO took a relaxed approach to the problem, Tedros said the body gave countries enough time to prepare. He pointed out that a "Public Health Emergency of International Concern" was declared on January 30, when there were just 82 cases outside China. Back then, no deaths had been reported beyond the country. WHO declared a pandemic on March 11.
Things can't go back where they were: Tedros
A large population still remains susceptible to the deadly virus, WHO underscored. Tedros noted that people who have been forced to stay inside homes are naturally frustrated. "People understandably want to get on with their lives," he said. "But the world will not and can not go back to the way things were. There must be a new normal."