No country can just pretend pandemic is over – WHO chief

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Photo taken in Brussels of Belgium on March 16, 2020 shows World Health Organization (WHO) Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus speaking at a virtual press conference held in Geneva, Switzerland. More cases and deaths of COVID-19 have now been reported in the rest of the world than in China, the chief of the WHO said here on Monday, noting that a rapid escalation of the coronavirus cases has been seen in the past week. (Xinhua/Zheng Huansong)
Photo taken in Brussels of Belgium on March 16, 2020 shows World Health Organization (WHO) Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus speaking at a virtual press conference held in Geneva, Switzerland. More cases and deaths of COVID-19 have now been reported in the rest of the world than in China, the chief of the WHO said here on Monday, noting that a rapid escalation of the coronavirus cases has been seen in the past week. (Xinhua/Zheng Huansong)

The World Health Organization (WHO) wants to see children returning to school and people returning to the workplace, but at the same time, no country can just pretend the pandemic is over, the head of the WHO said Monday.

WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus told a virtual press conference that if countries are serious about opening up, they must be serious about suppressing transmission and saving lives.

“Opening up without having control is a recipe for disaster,” Tedros said.

He stressed that there are four essential things that need to be done — prevent amplifying events; reduce deaths by protecting vulnerable groups; individuals must play their part; governments must take tailored actions to find, isolate, test and care for cases, and trace and quarantine contacts.

According to the WHO chief, decisions about how and when to allow gatherings of people must be taken with a risk-based approach and in the local context.

Globally, as of 2:14 p.m. CEST (1214 GMT) Monday, there have been 25,118,689 confirmed cases of COVID-19, including 844,312 deaths, reported to WHO.

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