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COVID-19 pandemic accelerating, says WHO chief

Director-general of global health body says world has not reached peak of coronavirus outbreak

Peter Kenny   | 07.07.2020
COVID-19 pandemic accelerating, says WHO chief

GENEVA

The COVID-19 pandemic is accelerating and the world has not reached the peak of the global outbreak, the chief of World Health Organization (WHO) warned on Tuesday.

WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said at the biweekly COVID-19 press webinar that it took 12 weeks for the world to reach 400,000 cases of the novel coronavirus.

Yet over the weekend, there were more than 400,000 cases across the globe, and the world has now had nearly 11.5 million cases, while more than 535,000 lives have been lost.

"The outbreak is accelerating, and we have clearly not reached the peak of the pandemic," said Tedros.

The number of cases is increasing, but it is still possible to minimize transmission.

"While the number of deaths appears to have leveled off globally, in reality some countries have made significant progress in reducing the number of deaths, while deaths are still on the rise in other countries.

"Where there has been progress in reducing deaths, countries have implemented targeted actions toward the most vulnerable groups, such as those living in long-term care facilities," said the WHO chief.

He was asked to comment on the news that Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro had tested positive for COVID-19.

Tedros wished Bolsonaro "the best recovery."

"We have been saying for a long time now, including at the early stages of the pandemic that this virus is very dangerous, and we called it many times public enemy number one."

Tedros said that COVID-19 has "dangerous combinations, it moves fast, and also it's a killer.

"And that's why we were worried and warning the world continuously."

The WHO chief said that some countries are showing some progress in the fight against COVID-19, "but many countries actually have more cases, and those are on the rise."

Tedros said that over the past few months, there had been much discussion about the origins of coronavirus.

"All preparations have been finalized, and WHO experts will be traveling to China this weekend to prepare scientific plans with their Chinese counterparts for identifying the zoonotic source of the disease," he said.

He added the mission to China aims to advance the understanding of animal hosts for COVID-19 and ascertain how the disease jumped between animals and humans.

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