The head of the World Health Organization (WHO) has warned against complacency in the fight against the coronavirus, saying the disease “will be with us for a long time”.
Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus also warned of upward trends in Covid-19 cases in Africa, Eastern Europe, Central America and South America.
He said that lifting lockdowns could cause infections to “reignite”.
Dr Tedros also defended the WHO’s handling of the pandemic.
He said he believed the UN agency had warned the world of Covid-19 early enough.
“Looking back I think we declared the emergency at the right time and when the world had enough time to respond,” he told a daily briefing in Geneva. The WHO declared Covid-19 a Public Health Emergency of International Concern on 30 January and said it had become a pandemic on 11 March.
What did the WHO say?
Addressing the news briefing, Dr Tedros said that while most of the epidemics in Western Europe appeared to be stable or in decline, for many countries the disease was just getting started.
“And some (countries) that were affected early in the pandemic are now starting to see a resurgence in cases,” he said.
“Make no mistake – we have a long way to go. This virus will be with us for a long time.”
He added: “There is no question that stay-at-home orders and other physical distancing measures have successfully suppressed transmission in many countries. But this virus remains extremely dangerous.
“Early evidence suggests most of the world’s population remains susceptible. That means epidemics can easily reignite.
“One of the greatest dangers we face now is complacency.”