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WHO warns that giving up containing the coronavirus is dangerous

WHO Image: Image: Askarim / Shutterstock

Geneva, 26 Oct 2020 (AFP) – The director general of the World Health Organization (WHO), Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, warned today of the risk of abandoning the pandemic control efforts of the new coronavirus, as a senior American official suggested, saying that doing so would be “dangerous”.

“We must not give up,” said Adhanom, during a virtual pandemic briefing.

He admitted that after months of battle with the new coronavirus, which left more than 1.1 million people dead worldwide, a certain level of “pandemic fatigue” has set in.

“It’s hard and the fatigue is real,” said Tedros Adhanom.

“But we cannot give up,” he added, demanding from leaders to “balance the disruption to lives and livelihoods.”

“When leaders act fast, the virus can be suppressed,” he added.

Your comments come a day after the American president’s chief of staff, Donald Trump, Mark Meadows, tells CNN that the government’s focus has shifted to mitigating the pandemic and is not on eradicating the virus.

“We are not going to control the pandemic. We are going to control the fact that we have vaccines, treatments and other mitigations,” said Meadows, comparing the lethal covid-19 to a the flu seasonal.

Asking about Meadows’ comments, Tedros Adhanom said he agreed that a focus on mitigation, and especially on protecting the most vulnerable, is important.

“But giving up control is dangerous,” he added.

The director-general of WHO stressed that pandemic mitigation and control “are not contradictory. We can do both”.

While governments have a responsibility to ensure things, such as testing and tracking contacts, he emphasized that everyone has a responsibility to contain the spread of covid-19.

“Governments should do their part and our citizens, theirs, to minimize transmission,” he said.

“There are no magical solutions to this outbreak,” he insisted.

“Nobody else wants the so-called ‘lockdowns’. But if we want to avoid them, we must all do our part,” he added.

When asked about Meadows’ comments, WHO emergency director Michael Ryan also said that countries should not “give up on trying to suppress transmission”.

“There were many places in the United States and in other parts of the world that faced a lot of problems in March and April using mitigation,” he said.

“When our emergency rooms became overcrowded and refrigerated trucks were taken to the back of hospitals, this is the reality of mitigating a disease in the face of a flood of cases,” he added.

“We lost the ability to cope. And this is the fear now,” he concluded.

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