The World Health Organization (WHO) recalled on Wednesday that the Covid-19 remains extremely dangerous and fatal, while pleading for patience in the face of the feelings of weariness and frustration that are gaining populations due to the restrictions put in place to fight the pandemic.
“One of the greatest dangers facing us today is complacency,” WHO director-general Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said on Wednesday, quoted in a UN agency statement reporting on a virtual conference organized from Geneva.
If she understands the frustration of people living in countries where containment has been in place for several weeks, the WHO notes that there is no doubt that the restrictive measures taken to maintain physical distance have succeeded in removing the chain of transmission in many places.
“But this virus remains extremely dangerous,” insisted Tedros, adding that the first indications suggest a vulnerability “of most of the world population”.
“This means that epidemics can easily reignite,” continued the director general. “People naturally want to continue their lives. This is also what the WHO, which works for it, 24 hours a day, seven days a week, wants, but the world cannot and will not return to the previous situation,” he warned.
Tedros outlined the contours of a “new normal” in “a healthier, safer and better prepared world”. He recalled the public health system proposed since the start of the crisis. “The same measures that we have advocated since the start of the pandemic must remain the backbone of the response in all countries,” he said.
WHO has again reiterated that a return to normal life requires “finding, isolating, testing and treating each case”. It is also about “tracing and quarantining each contact while educating, raising awareness and empowering the population. Countries that do not do these essential things constantly, will see more cases, and more lives will be lost,” said Dr. Tedros.
WHO, which has reiterated its commitment to help all countries save lives, therefore recommends finding and testing each suspected case, not each person in a population.
The Covid-19 pandemic has killed more than 169,006 people worldwide, according to a report by the WHO on Wednesday. Almost 2.5 million cases have been diagnosed in 193 countries and territories.
The United States is the country most affected in terms of number of deaths (37,602) and cases (776,907 contaminations). Next are Italy (24,648 dead), Spain (21,282 dead), France (20,763 dead) and the United Kingdom (17,337 dead).
WHO notes “different trends in different regions, and even within countries.”
According to the UN agency, the epidemic appears to be stable or declining in most countries of western Europe. At the same time, despite “weak numbers”, worrying upward trends are seen in Africa, Latin America and Eastern Europe.
Most countries are still in the early stages of their epidemic. And some who were affected at the start of the pandemic are now starting to see a resurgence of cases. “Make no mistake: we still have a long way to go,” said Tedros. “This virus will accompany us for a long time”.