The World Health Organization (WHO) has once again warned against lapses in the face of the new coronavirus when the pandemic has caused more than 15 million infections, including nearly 620,000 deaths worldwide.
“As long as (the Covid-19) circulates, everyone is in danger”, recalled again Thursday the Director-General of the WHO, Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus. “Just because the number of cases is low where you live doesn’t mean you can let your guard down. Don’t expect someone else to take you to safety, ”he told a virtual press conference from Geneva.
The Director-General called on everyone to play their “role to protect us and each other”.
The new warning comes as the UN agency has noted in recent weeks that some sources of transmission have been linked to “nightclubs and other social gatherings”, and even in “places where transmission has been suppressed”.
“We must remember that most people are still susceptible to this virus,” insisted Dr. Tedros even though he admits that the pandemic has disrupted the lives of billions of people around the world. “Many have been at home for months. It is completely understandable that people want to take control of their lives, ”continued the WHO chief.
Individuals and communities must manage their own risks
However, “the best way to suppress the transmission of Covid-19 and save lives is” to get individuals and communities to manage their own risks “, underlines the WHO. Both individually and within the community, Dr. Tedros reiterates that it is necessary to “make decisions based on evidence to protect your own health and that of those around you”. A way of reminding everyone that everyone must know their situation. “Do you know how many cases of Covid-19 have been reported where you were yesterday? Do you know where to find this information? ”, These are the questions to ask oneself, said the Director-General.
For the WHO, certain questions should guide everyone’s daily life: “Do you know how to minimize your exposure to Covid-19? Do you make sure you stay at least three feet away from others? Do you still wash your hands regularly? Do you follow the advice of your local authorities? “.
Questions and an attitude which have the gift of reminding us that “we will not be returning” anytime soon to the “old normality”. “The Covid-19 pandemic has already changed the way we live,” added Dr. Tedros.
In these circumstances, adapting to the “new normal” is, in part, finding “ways to live in safety”. “It is possible, but the way to do it will depend on where you live and your situation”, admitted the head of the WHO, stressing that it is then a question of making good choices. And for Dr. Tedros, everyone “to consider decisions about where to go, what to do and who they meet as life and death decisions – because they are. “. “It might not be your life, but your choices can mean the difference between life and death for someone you love or a complete stranger,” he noted.
“Intense transmission” of the virus in a relatively small number of countries
The Covid-19 pandemic has killed at least 618,017 people around the world, according to a report established Thursday by the WHO. More than 14,971,036 cases of infection have been officially diagnosed in 196 countries and territories since the start of the epidemic.
The United States is the most affected country in terms of both deaths and cases, with 141,479 deaths for 3,868,453 cases. After the United States, the countries most affected are Brazil with 81,487 deaths for 2,159,654 cases, the United Kingdom with 45,422 deaths (295,817 cases), Mexico with 40,400 deaths (356,255 cases), Italy with 35,073 deaths (244,752 cases) and France with 30,165 deaths (177,338 cases).
Although all countries have been affected, WHO continues to observe intense transmission in a relatively small group of countries. “Almost 10 million cases of Covid-19, or two-thirds of all cases worldwide, come from 10 countries, and almost half of all cases reported so far come from just three countries,” detailed Dr. Tedros.
But to overcome the disease, the WHO puts forward “two essential pillars”, namely “political leadership and community commitment”. One of the tools that governments can use is the law – not to compel, but to protect health while protecting human rights. Because “well-designed laws can help build strong health systems, assess and approve safe and effective medicines and vaccines, and implement measures to create healthier public spaces and workplaces. and more secure ”.
The questioning of “my independence is unacceptable” – Dr Tedros
On the other hand, “badly designed, badly enforced or badly implemented laws can harm marginalized populations.” “They can also” reinforce stigma and discrimination and hamper efforts to end the pandemic “, recalled Dr. Tedros, noting in passing the launch on Wednesday of a legal laboratory dedicated to Covid-19, in collaboration with the United Nations Development Program (UNDP) and Georgetown University in the United States.
Ultimately, in the fight against the novel coronavirus, “no matter where you live or your age, you can be a leader in your community, not only to beat the pandemic, but also to build back better.” In this regard, Dr. Tedros recalled the commitment of young people in recent years, who have been able to “lead grassroots movements for climate change and racial equality”. “We now need young people to start a global movement for health – for a world in which health is a human right, not a privilege,” noted the WHO chief.
Separately, Dr. Tedros said comments questioning his independence would not distract the UN agency from its work to fight the coronavirus. “These comments are false and unacceptable and without any basis in this regard,” he said, in response to a question about the comments of the US administration questioning its independence. According to statements reported by the British press, Washington accused the Director-General of the WHO of having been “bought” by China. But Dr. Tedros said he knew the politicization of the virus was the big risk in fighting a pandemic.