Covid-19 is by far the most severe global health emergency: WHO

Hemani Sheth Mumbai | Updated on July 28, 2020 Published on July 28, 2020

Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, WHO Director-General   -  REUTERS

The World Health Organisation (WHO) on Monday said that the Covid-19 pandemic is the most severe global health emergency by far as cases continue to accelerate.

“This Thursday marks six months since WHO declared Covid-19 a public health emergency of international concern. This is the sixth time a global health emergency has been declared under the International Health Regulations, but it is easily the most severe,” said Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, Director-General, WHO.

“Almost 16 million cases have now been reported to WHO, and more than 640,000 deaths. And the pandemic continues to accelerate. In the past six weeks, the total number of cases has roughly doubled,” he said.

The WHO Chief will be reconvening the Emergency Committee later this week, as required under the International Health Regulations. The committee will re-evaluate the pandemic and advise the UN health agency on further measures to be taken to control the pandemic.

Sealing international borders unsustainable

Meanwhile, countries across the globe are struggling to keep economies afloat as cases surge and countries are forced to reimpose stricter measures.

“Continuing to keep international borders sealed is not necessarily a sustainable strategy for the world’s economy, for the world’s poor, or for anybody else,” said Michael Ryan, WHO Emergencies Director.

“It is going to be almost impossible for individual countries to keep their borders shut for the foreseeable future,” he said, pointing out that “economies have to open up, people have to work, trade has to resume”.

He further said that countries should be prepared to tighten or loosen measures as per the situation.

Maria Van Kerkhove, WHO’s technical lead on the pandemic further urged people to be prepared for “the new normal” in the long run.

“Our new normal includes physical distancing from others, (and) wearing masks where appropriate,” she said.

“Our new normal includes us knowing where this virus is each and every day, where we live, where we work, where we want to travel,” she added.

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Published on July 28, 2020
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