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WHO chief calls for 'immediate action' amid Covid-19 resurgence

By IANS | Mumbai

Published: 24 October, 2020 11:20 IST

Ghebreyesus urged leaders to take immediate action, so as to prevent further unnecessary deaths, essential health services from collapsing and schools shutting again

The World Health Organization's (WHO) Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus has said that the world was still at "a critical juncture" in its fights against the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic and called for "immediate action" as several countries have reported a resurgence in new confirmed cases.

Addressing a press conference here on Friday, Ghebreyesus said that the next few months are going to be very "tough" and some countries are on "a dangerous track", reports Xinhua news agency

"We are at a critical juncture in this pandemic, particularly in the northern hemisphere," he said.

"Too many countries are seeing an exponential increase in cases and that is now leading to hospitals and ICU running close or above capacity and we're still only in October," the Who chief added.

Ghebreyesus urged leaders to take immediate action, so as to prevent further unnecessary deaths, essential health services from collapsing and schools shutting again.

Also addressing the briefing, Maria Van Kerkhove, technical lead for the WHO's Health Emergencies Program, said that progress is being made on the plans for an international mission to identify the zoonotic source of the coronavirus.

She said the WHO has reached out to a group of international experts and is expected to share more information in the coming days.

"The first cases were detected in Wuhan of China last December, so the early studies will begin there," she said, adding that then the next phase of the studies will be developed as the evidence and results from the first phase become available.

"We will follow the science and follow the necessary steps that need to be taken," Van Kerkhove added.

As of Saturday morning, overall number of global coronavirus cases stood at 42,114,524, while the deaths have soared to 1,143,291, according to the Johns Hopkins University.

The US is the worst-hit country with the world's highest number of cases and deaths at 8,484,991 and 223,914, respectively, the University's Center for Systems Science and Engineering (CSSE) revealed in its latest update.

India comes in second place in terms of cases at 7,761,312, while the country's death toll soared to 117,306.

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