World Health Organization (WHO) chief Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus issued a stark warning on the spread of the coronavirus – calling the disease “public enemy number one” – as the number of cases around the world rose above 13 million.
More than half a million people have died from the disease in six and a half months, and the WHO chief said there would be no return to the “old normal” for the foreseeable future, especially if preventive measures were neglected.
“Let me be blunt, too many countries are headed in the wrong direction; the virus remains public enemy number one,” he told a virtual briefing from the WHO’s headquarters in Geneva.
“If basics are not followed, the only way this pandemic is going to go, it is going to get worse and worse and worse. But it does not have to be this way.”
The disease appears to be accelerating fastest in the Americas, which account for more than half the world’s cases and half the deaths.
Some places, including the Australian city of Melbourne and Leicester in England, are implementing a second round of shutdowns.
Chinese-ruled Hong Kong, albeit with a low 1,522 cases, is about to impose its strictest-ever social-distancing measures amid concerns about a recent jump in community transmission.
The US reported a daily global record of 69,070 new cases on July 10. In Brazil, 1.86 million people have tested positive, including President Jair Bolsonaro, and more than 72,000 people have died.