In the daily WHO press briefing, Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus began by noting the scale of the coronavirus pandemic, with 20 million confirmed cases and 750,000 deaths expected by the end of this week.
However, he added that there were reasons for hope in the global fight against the disease.
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“I know that many of you are grieving and that this is a difficult time for the world,” said Dr Tedros.
“But I want to be clear, there are green shoots of hope and it doesn’t matter where a country, region, town or city is – it’s never too late to reverse the Covid-19 epidemic . ”
The health chief praised New Zealand as a “global model” for its response to the pandemic, after the country celebrated 100 days without community transmission of Covid-19 on Sunday.
Dr Tedros also praised Boris Johnson for his government’s decision to implement local lockdowns in the UK and Frenchman Emmanuel Macron for the introduction of mandatory face masks in certain areas outside Paris.
“Over the past few days, UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson has placed areas of northern England under stay-at-home notifications as clusters of cases were identified,” he said.
“In France, President Emmanuel Macron introduced mandatory masking in busy outdoor spaces in Paris in response to an increase in cases.
The WHO chief added: “Strong and precise measures like these, coupled with the use of all the tools at our disposal, are essential to prevent any resurgence of Covid-19 and allow companies to reopen in all safety. ”
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