The coronavirus pandemic is far from over, the head of the World Health Organization (WHO) said on Monday.
In a video news conference, the WHO chief expressed concern over the swelling trends in Africa, Eastern Europe, Latin America, and some Asian countries.
“Cases, and deaths are underreported in many countries in these regions because of low testing capacity,” said WHO chief Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus.
Tedros defended the role of the WHO, which US President Donald Trump has accused of being China-centric. Trump has also said the US is suspending payments to the world health body.
“We don’t have any mandate to force countries to implement what we advise them,” said Tedros, adding that countries are free to take WHO advice or reject it.
“Maybe, one example is, as you remember, on January 17, we declared the highest level of global emergency on COVID-19.
“During that time, there were only 82 cases outside China. No cases in Latin America, no cases in Africa. Only 10 cases in Europe. No deaths in the rest of the world. Nothing,” he said.
“The world should have listened to the WHO carefully.
“Every country could have triggered all its public health measures possible,” said Tedros.
He advised the whole world to implement a comprehensive public health approach by finding, testing, contacting and tracing.
“We have a long road ahead of us, and a lot of work to do,” he said.
The pandemic has killed more than 208,100 people worldwide, with the number of cases totaling over 3 million and more than 878,800 recoveries, according to US-based Johns Hopkins University.