Many countries headed in wrong, mixed messages from leaders undermining COVID-19 response: WHO chief Tedros

WION Geneva Jul 13, 2020, 10.03 PM(IST)

WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus speaks at World Health Assembly virtual meeting Photograph:( AFP )

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WHO chief Tedros lauded the  countries in the Mekong region, the Pacific, the Caribbean and Africa which have avoided large outbreaks mainly because 'leaders of these countries took command of the emergency'

World Health Organization chief Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said today almost 80 per cent coronavirus cases were reported from just 10 countries, and 50 per cent come from just two countries referring to the Americas.

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The United States has over 3.3 million cases of coronavirus which is the highest in the world followed by Brazil which has over 1.8 million cases. 

Tedros lauded the  countries in the Mekong region, the Pacific, the Caribbean and Africa which have avoided large outbreaks mainly because "leaders of these countries took command of the emergency and communicated effectively with their populations about the measures that had to be taken."

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"Many countries in Europe and elsewhere have demonstrated that it is possible to bring large outbreaks under control," the WHO chief said, adding," epicentre of the virus remains in the Americas, where more than 50% of the world’s cases have been recorded."

"Let me blunt, too many countries are headed in the wrong direction. The virus remains public enemy number one, but the actions of many governments and people do not reflect this," the WHO asserted.

"Mixed messages from leaders are undermining the most critical ingredient of any response: trust, if governments do not clearly communicate with their citizens and roll out a comprehensive strategy focused on suppressing transmission and saving lives - it’s going to get worse and worse and worse," he said.

The death toll in the United States has climbed to over 135,200 with Brazil recording over 72,000 fatalities. Both President Trump and Brazil President Bolsanoro have been slow to respond to the virus often dismissing the virus as a threat.

Trump has often said the virus will one just "disappear" even has Bolosanro had called it a "little flu" in April as the virus took hold over the country.

"We weren’t prepared collectively, but we must use all the tools we have to bring this pandemic under control and we need to do it right now," Tedros said.

"Together, we must accelerate the science as quickly as possible, find joint solutions to COVID-19 and through solidarity build a cohesive global response."