Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, director-general of the World Health Organization (WHO), speaks at a press conference after the WHO emergency committee's meeting on the novel coronavirus in China at its headquarters in Geneva, Switzerland, Jan. 22, 2020. (Xinhua/Liu Qu)
Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, Director-General of the World Health Organization (WHO)

The chief of the World Health Organization (WHO) said Monday that all countries living with COVID-19 will be the new normal in the coming months, as the pandemic had already infected more than 10 million people worldwide, including nearly 500,000 deaths.

“The critical question that all countries will face in the coming months is how to live with this virus. That is the new normal,” said WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus at a daily press briefing.

He added that although many countries have made some progress against the COVID-19, the pandemic is speeding up globally.”Six months ago, none of us could have imagined how our world — and our lives — would be thrown into turmoil by this new virus,” the WHO chief said.

“The pandemic has brought out the best and the worst of humanity,” he continued. “All over the world, we have seen heartwarming acts of resilience, inventiveness, solidarity, and kindness. But we have also seen concerning signs of stigma, misinformation and the politicization of the pandemic.”

He urged all countries to prioritize five sets of measures to save lives, including empowering communities and individuals to protect themselves and others, suppressing virus transmission, saving lives with oxygen and dexamethasone for instance, accelerating research on COVID-19, and strengthening political leadership and solidarity.

Tedros also announced an updated and detailed timeline of the WHO’s response to the pandemic for the public to understand how the UN health body has been responding to the outbreak.

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