Geneva (UNA-OIC) – Director-General of the World Health Organization (WHO) Dr. Tedros Ghebreyesus reiterated the need for a renewed commitment to empowering communities to suppress transmission of novel coronavirus (COVID-19) while getting ready for the probability of living with the virus.
In a media briefing on COVID-19 at the WHO headquarters in Geneva, Dr. Tedros urged accelerating research as well as political and moral leadership, saying, “It’s time for all countries to renew their commitment to universal health coverage as the cornerstone of social and economic development.
“The critical question that all countries will face in the coming months is how to live with this virus. That is the new normal,” he stressed. “Many countries have implemented unprecedented measures to suppress transmission and save lives. These measures have been successful in slowing the spread of the virus. But they have not completely stopped it.”
“Some countries are now experiencing a resurgence of cases as they start to re-open their economies and societies. Most people remain susceptible,” the WHO chief added, expressing regret that the virus still has a lot of room to move.
“Although many countries have made some progress, globally the pandemic is actually speeding up. We’re all in this together, and we’re all in this for the long haul,” Tedros said, pointing out that further resilience, patience, humility and generosity will be needed in the months ahead.
The Director-General stated that 30 June marks six months since the UN health agency received the first reports of a cluster of cases of pneumonia of unknown causes in China.
“The six-month anniversary of the outbreak coincides with reaching 10 million cases and 500,000 deaths. This is a moment for all of us to recommit ourselves to doing everything we can to save lives,” he noted.
The Director-General outlined five priorities for every country to focus on to save lives now, as follows:
- Empowering communities; Every individual must understand that they are not helpless – there are things everyone should do to protect themselves and others. Your health is in your hands.
- Suppressing transmission; Whether countries have no cases, clusters of cases, or community transmission, there are steps all countries can take to suppress the spread of the virus.
- Saving lives; Early identification and clinical care save lives. Providing oxygen and dexamethasone to people with severe and critical disease saves lives.
- Accelerating research; We’ve already learned a lot about this virus, but there’s still a lot we don’t know – and there are still tools we need.
- Political leadership; As we have said repeatedly, national unity and global solidarity are essential to implementing a comprehensive strategy to suppress transmission, save lives, and minimize the social and economic impact of the virus.