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WHO Warns Against Lifting Restrictions As Global Death Toll Surges Past 100,000



WHO DG, Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus

The World Health Organisation WHO, the United Nations’  global health agency, has warned countries against relaxing the lock-down imposed to fight the deadly coronavirus pandemic.

Speaking to reporters in Geneva, Switzerland on Friday, the WHO Director-General, Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said the agency would like to see an easing, but cautioned that “lifting restrictions could lead to a deadly resurgence.”

Tedros said there had been a “welcome slowing” of epidemics in some European countries – Italy, Germany, Spain and France – but there had been an “alarming acceleration” elsewhere, including community transmission in 16 countries of Africa.

The WHO DG also expressed concern over the large number of infections confirmed among health workers on the front lines in the fight against the pandemic.

“In some countries [there are] reports of up to 10 percent of health workers being infected,” he said. “This is an alarming trend.”

He stated that a new UN supply task force will coordinate and scale up the procurement and distribution of protective gear, lab diagnostics and oxygen to the countries that need it most.

“Every month we will need to ship at least 100 million medical masks and gloves, up to 25 million N95 respirators, gowns and face shields, up to 2.5 million diagnostic tests and large quantities of oxygen concentrators and other equipment for clinical care,” he said. 

The WHO chief also warned that no country was immune from the pandemic.

“From this pandemic we have to try to learn … what the gaps are, this is a message even for the developed countries. Across the board you see a lack of preparedness of the public health system,” Tedros said.

“No country can claim it has a strong health system. We have to be really honest and assess and address this problem.”

A tally by the Johns Hopkins University showed that the number of confirmed deaths associated with COVID-19, the highly infectious respiratory disease caused by the new coronavirus, stood at 100,376, with over 1.6 million infections confirmed worldwide.

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