Sending out a warning signal, the World Health Organisation (WHO) on Wednesday said that the novel coronavirus will stalk the planet for a long time to come as most nations are still in the early stages of tackling the pandemic.
WHO chief Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said some countries might have thought that the new coronavirus has been brought under control, but now, they are witnessing a relapse along with troubling upward trends in Africa and the Americas.
“Most of the epidemics in western Europe appear to be stable or declining,” Tedros said during a virtual press conference in Geneva. “Although numbers are low, we see worrying upward trends in Africa, Central and South America, and eastern Europe.”
“Most countries are still in the early stages of their epidemics. And some that were affected early in the pandemic are now starting to see resurgence in cases. Make no mistake: we have a long way to go. This virus will be with us for a long time,” said the WHO chief.
The organisation has been heavily criticised by the United States for its handling of the pandemic but Tedros dismissed calls for him to resign. Instead, he insisted that the health agency had declared a global emergency in good time on 30 January for countries to prepare and plan their response.
“Looking back, I think we declared the emergency at the right time” on 30 January, he said, adding that the world “had enough time to respond.”
The global death count has passed 175,000 while more than 2.5 million declared cases have been registered since the epidemic first emerged in China in December.