After 6 months, COVID-19 pandemic 'not even close' to being over

WHO sending team to China to investigate origins of coronavirus

WHO sending team to China to investigate origins of coronavirus  29 Jun 2020- 21:15

The head of the World Health Organisation on Monday dismissed complaints from countries complaining that contact tracing is too hard to implement as a control strategy for the coronavirus pandemic as "lame".

At a media briefing on Monday, WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus pointed to his emergencies director Dr. Michael Ryan as an example of someone willing to go to extraordinary lengths to conduct contact tracing, citing Ryan's work - while wearing a bulletproof helmet and vest - during an Ebola outbreak in a part of Congo where armed groups had attacked and killed health workers.

The disease has since sickened more than 10 million people and killed about 500,000.

However "although many countries have made some progress, globally the pandemic is actually speeding up", he warned.

About half the cases, and almost half the deaths across the globe, have come in the Americas.

Brazil was the only country in the world to report more new cases on Sunday than the USA, according to the WHO.

The actual number of people who have been infected with the coronavirus is probably multiples higher than the numbers reported.

Countries such as South Korea had managed to contain the disease by tracking down the contacts of those carrying infection, Tedros said. "The virus is spreading aggressively".

Speaking at a World Health Organization press conference on Monday, Dr Tedros said: "Some countries are experiencing a resurgence of cases as they start to reopen their economies and societies".

He said governments needed to be "serious" about measures such as contact tracing, and citizens had to take responsibility for personal steps such as maintaining hand hygiene. He pointed to contact tracing work done in volatile eastern provinces of the Democratic Republic of the Congo, where an Ebola outbreak has formally ended after almost two years.

"Many, many countries through applying a comprehensive strategy have reached a very low level of virus transmission in their countries but always have to remain vigilant in case there are clusters or small outbreaks". "Trust me, there is not too many even in a world situation".

"If contact tracing helps you to win the fight, you do it, even (when) risking your life", he said.

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