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No country can just pretend pandemic is over: WHO chief

Geneva: Director-General of the World Health Organization (WHO), Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, said no country can just pretend that the global Covid-19 pandemic is over.

Addressing a virtual press conference in Geneva recently, he said that if countries are serious about opening up, they must be serious about suppressing transmission and saving lives, reports Xinhua news agency.

“Opening up without having control is a recipe for disaster,” Tedros said.

He stressed that there are four essential things that need to be done — prevent amplifying events; reduce deaths by protecting vulnerable groups; individuals must play their part; governments must take tailored actions to find, isolate, test and care for cases, and trace and quarantine contacts.

According to the WHO chief, decisions about how and when to allow gatherings of people must be taken with a risk-based approach and in the local context.

Meanwhile, a latest survey conducted by WHO among over 100 countries showed that 90 per cent of the nations have experienced disruption to their health services due to the ongoing pandemic.

“The survey shows that up to 70 percent of services have been disrupted for essential services including routine immunization, diagnosis and treatment for non-communicable diseases, family planning and contraception, treatment for mental health disorders and cancer diagnosis and treatment.

“However, only 14 percent of countries reported removing user fees, which WHO recommends to offset potential financial difficulties for patients,” he added.

As of September 1, the overall number of global coronavirus cases stood at 25,405,556 and the fatalities rose to 849,303.

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