Worst of the pandemic is yet to come, warns WHO

On the day that marks six months since WHO received the first reports on unexplained pneumonia cases in China, Tedros Ghebreyesus said that "the reality is that this is still far from over."

The director-general of the World Health Organization said today that "the worst is yet to come" in relation to the covid-19, pointing to the politicization of the pandemic as a dividing factor exploited by a "fast and killer" virus.

On the day that marks six months since WHO received the first reports on unexplained pneumonia cases in China, Tedros Ghebreyesus said that "the reality is that this is still far from over."

"Globally, the pandemic is accelerating", overcoming the barriers of 10 million cases and 500 thousand deaths, he said.

As it is a “fast and killer” virus, it is necessary to “avoid divisions” because “any differences can be exploited” by the new coronavirus, which appeared in Wuhan, China, where the WHO will send “next week” a team to “understand how it started and what can be done in the future” for the world to prepare to deal with it.

“With 10 million cases and half a million deaths, unless we solve the problems that we identified, like WHO, of lack of national unity and global solidarity and of a divided world that is helping the virus to spread, the worse is yet to come. I'm sorry to say this, but with this kind of environment and conditions, we fear the worst. We have to get together and fight this dangerous virus ”, he defended.

"Our message remains the same, it is not about one country, two countries or three countries," said Ghebreyesus.

WHO health emergency program executive director Michael Ryan said that "it is easy to criticize any individual or country and there is no country or organization that is immune from criticism or defects or difficulties in responding" to the pandemic.

“We cannot continue to allow the fight against this virus to become an ideological fight. We were unable to overcome it with ideology. Every person, every politician, needs to look in the mirror and think if they are doing enough to stop this virus ”, he defended.

“When we say that it is necessary to avoid the politicization of the virus, it goes both ways. As individuals or as societies, we may have to support and encourage a government that we don't choose and that we don't like. This is the difficulty and the challenge of national unity against a common enemy and we have no time to lose ”, he said.

WHO's chief technical officer in combating covid-19, Maria Van Kerkhove, stressed that the path is to be “on the side of science”.

“We are learning from this virus. We know what works. We are not saying it is easy. We are not saying that it will not take more time and that it will be difficult for everyone, for families, for communities and for nations ”, said the American.

After six months, the WHO reiterates today the recipe to be able to contain the transmission, which involves having people informed of the role they assume, either by telling them that they are “not defenseless” or the fact that they are also responsible for what happens to the people with whom they are in contact, said Tedros Ghebreyesus.

Suppressing community transmission with distance and hygiene measures, saving the lives of the most vulnerable by treating all cases, accelerating the investigation of vaccines and treatments and reaching a level of “political and moral leadership” are the other priorities pointed out by WHO.

The covid-19 pandemic has already claimed more than 501 deaths and infected more than 10,16 million people in 196 countries and territories, according to a report made by the French agency AFP.

In Portugal, 1.568 people of the 41.912 confirmed as infected died, according to the most recent bulletin from the Directorate-General for Health.

The disease is transmitted by a new coronavirus detected in late December in Wuhan, a city in central China.

After Europe succeeded China as the center of the pandemic in February, the American continent is now the one with the most confirmed cases and the most deaths.

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