Long, hard road ahead’ to beat coronavirus: warns WHO

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The World Health Organization (WHO) has warned that countries that do not use every option available to them to tackle coronavirus face a “long, hard road ahead” to beat the disease.

Speaking at the press briefing in Geneva, Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said the pandemic was still raging and countries and individuals needed to keep up their efforts in order to stay safe.

“Some countries have not used all the tools at their disposal and have taken a fragmented approach,” he said. “These countries face a long, hard road ahead.”

More than 10.5 million people have been infected globally and more than 500,000 have died since COVID-19 first emerged, Tedros said that “flare-ups are to be expected as countries start to lift restrictions.”

But the WHO chief noted that countries with “systems in place to apply a comprehensive approach, should be able to contain these flare-ups locally, and avoid reintroducing widespread restrictions.”

“We will never get tired of saying that the best way out of this pandemic is to take a comprehensive approach”, Tedros added.

“Find, isolate, test, and care for every case, trace and quarantine every contact, equip, and train health workers and educate and empower communities to protect themselves and others.

“Not testing alone not physical distancing alone not contact tracing alone not masks alone do it all.”

In March, Italy and Spain were the epicenters of the pandemic but both brought their epidemics under control with a combination of leadership.

“The fastest way out of this pandemic is to follow the science and do what we know works: the comprehensive approach.”

WHO convened its second research and innovation forum on Wednesday, bringing together more than 1,000 scientists from all over the world to take stock of the progress made so far, discuss new research questions and knowledge gaps, and to define research priorities, going forward.

Research and innovation have played a vital role since the beginning of the pandemic – and even before, said the WHO chief.

“We have a shared responsibility to ensure that all people have access to the tools to protect themselves, especially those who are most at risk.”

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