WHO head ‘extremely concerned’ by coronavirus surge in US, Europe

2020-11-17 10:13:36
WHO head ‘extremely concerned’ by coronavirus surge in US, Europe

The head of the World Health Organization (WHO) says the agency is “extremely concerned” by a surge of coronavirus infections, particularity in Europe and United States.

WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus told reporters Monday at a virtual briefing in Geneva that the increase of COVID-19 cases is pushing health workers to the “breaking point.”

"Right now we are extremely concerned by the surge in COVID-19 cases we’re seeing in some countries," Tedros said.

"Particularly in Europe and the Americas, health workers and health systems are being pushed to breaking point."

Tedros returned to WHO headquarters in Geneva Monday for the first time since self-quarantining for two weeks as a precaution after coming into contact with a person who tested positive for COVID-19.

Tedros also there was no time for complacency in confronting the coronavirus despite positive news about possible vaccines.

"The quickest way to open up economies is to defeat the virus," WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus told a virtual briefing in Geneva.

U.S.-based pharmaceutical company Moderna said its experimental vaccine is 94.5% effective against the infection, based on preliminary results from its third and final stage clinical trial.

The WHO’s chief scientist, Soumya Swaminathan, said Monday that she expected there to be "very limited" COVID-19 vaccine doses available in the first half of 2021 for the agency’s global distribution plans.

More than 54.44 million people have been reported infected by the coronavirus globally and 1,318,042 have died, according to a Reuters tally.

Infections have been reported in more than 210 countries and territories since the first cases were identified in China last December.

The COVID-19 pandemic has killed more than 246,000 people in the United States. The country has averaged more than 148,000 new coronavirus cases a day, and 1,120 daily deaths, over the past week.

The United States, with about 4.3% of the world population, accounts for 20% of global COVID-19 cases. Virus-related deaths in the US is roughly 19% of the global 1.3 million fatalities.

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