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WHO 'deeply concerned' by some countries' responses to coronavirus

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Dr Tedros Ghebreyesus

Dr Tedros Ghebreyesus

AFP via Getty Images

Dr Tedros Ghebreyesus

The World Health Organisation (WHO) is "deeply concerned" that some countries are not handling the coronavirus pandemic with "the level of political commitment needed to control it".

The director-general of the WHO, Dr Tedros Ghebreyesus, said describing the global Covid-19 outbreak as a pandemic was not a decision taken lightly.

He said the world must "double down" and all countries must strike a balance in their approach to this "controllable pandemic".

Referring to the WHO decision to describe the outbreak as a pandemic, he said: "We have made this assessment for two main reasons.

"First, because of the speed and scale of transmission.

"Almost 125,000 cases have now been reported to WHO, from 118 countries and territories.

"In two weeks the number of cases reported outside China has increased almost 13-fold and the number of affected countries has almost tripled.

"The second reason is that despite our frequent warnings, we are deeply concerned that some countries are not approaching this threat with the level of political commitment needed to control it.

"Let me be clear: describing this as a pandemic does not mean that countries should give up. The idea that countries should shift from containment to mitigation is wrong and dangerous.

"On the contrary, we have to double down. This is a controllable pandemic.

"Countries that decide to give up on fundamental public health measures may end up with a larger problem and a heavier burden on the health system that requires more severe measures to control."

Belfast Telegraph