'Not even close to being over': WHO chief warns global coronavirus infection rate is 'speeding up'

James Morris
Senior news reporter, Yahoo News UK
Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said on Monday that the coronavirus pandemic 'is not even close to being over'. (WHO)

The World Health Organization (WHO) has warned that he coronavirus pandemic “is not even close to being over”.

WHO director-general Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said the global COVID-19 infection rate is “speeding up” after numerous countries lifted social distancing restrictions.

His remarks came after the number of confirmed global cases surpassed 10 million and the coronavirus death toll passed 500,000.

Speaking at a WHO press conference on Monday, Dr Tedros said: “Some countries are experiencing a resurgence of cases as they start to reopen their economies and societies.

“Most people remain susceptible. The virus still has a lot of room to move. We all want this to be over. We all want to get on with our lives. But the hard reality is: this is not even close to being over.

“Although many countries have made some progress, globally the pandemic is actually speeding up.”

On Thursday, the WHO said the risk of easing restrictions “has now become a reality” after 30 European countries reported increased COVID-19 infections in the prior two weeks.

Dr Tedros added: “We are all in this for the long haul. We will need even greater stores of resilience, patience, humility and generosity in the months ahead.”

He also criticised the “politicisation” of the pandemic, though he didn’t say who he was referring to.

“The COVID-19 pandemic has brought out the best and worst of humanity,” he said.

“All over the world we have seen heartwarming acts of resilience, inventiveness, solidarity and kindness.”

But he added that “we have also seen concerning signs of stigma, misinformation and the politicisation of the COVID-19 pandemic”.

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