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Coronavirus Will Be With Us For A Long Time: WHO Chief

Geneva: The World Health Organization (WHO) Chief said on Wednesday that the coronavirus continues to be extremely dangerous and will remain for a long time.

“Make no mistake: We have a long way to go. This virus will be with us for a long time,” Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, Director-General of WHO, said at the daily briefing on coronavirus.

Globally, almost 2.5 million COVID-19 cases have been reported to the WHO, while more than 160,000 people have succumbed to the dreaded virus so far.

The WHO DG said that most countries are still in the early stages of the pandemic. “And some that were affected early by the pandemic are now starting to see a resurgence in cases,” he added.

Ghebreyesus also said that there’s no doubt that stay-at-home orders and other physical distancing measures have successfully suppressed the transmission of the virus in many countries.

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“But this virus remains extremely dangerous. Early evidence suggests most of the world’s population remains susceptible. That means epidemics can easily re-ignite,” he said.

“One of the greatest dangers we face now is complacency. People in countries with stay-at-home orders are understandably frustrated with being confined to their homes for weeks on end,” he said.

Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said that people understandably want to get on with their lives, because their lives and livelihoods are at stake.

“But the world will not and cannot go back to the way things were. There must be a ‘new normal’ — a world that is healthier, safer and better prepared,” he emphasised.

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“The same public health measures we have been advocating since the beginning of the pandemic must remain the backbone of the response in all the countries — Find every case; Isolate every case; Test every case; Care for every case; Trace and quarantine every contact,” Ghebreyesus said.

WHO Chief Calls On US To Reconsider Funding Freeze

Meanwhile, the WHO chief called on the United States to reconsider its decision to freeze funding to the organization, and hoped that the US will once again support WHO’s work and continue to save lives.

“The US has been supporting WHO and it’s number one donor (of WHO). We value that, we appreciate that,” said WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus at a briefing on Wednesday, reported Xinhua news agency.

Having appreciated the US funding for helping build the national health system in Ethiopia where he used to be the minister of health, Tedros said he has also been a live witness as the WHO chief of the US support to his organisation.

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“I hope the US believes that this is an important investment not just to help others, but for the US to stay safe also,” he said.

“So 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.”

The US announced last week a decision to halt its funding to the WHO, at a time when the specialized UN agency for international public health is coordinating a global response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

(IANS)

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