Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, director-general of the World Health Organization, said countries allowing the coronavirus go “unchecked” are playing with fire.
“This is a dangerous virus, which can attack every system in the body,” he said during a news conference in Geneva on Monday. “Those countries that are letting the virus run unchecked are playing with fire.”
Tedros did not name any particular country, but said there will be further needless deaths and suffering, he said, and there are a significant number of people who are experiencing long-term effects of the virus. Health workers are facing extreme mental health pressure and cases are burdening health systems severely in too many countries, Tedros said.
He said that health workers went into medicine to save lives, and they must not be put in a position where they have to make impossible choices about who to care for.
“We need to do everything we can to support health workers, keep schools open, protect the vulnerable and safeguard the economy,” Tedros said.
“There is no excuse for inaction. My message is very clear: act fast, act now, act decisively,” Tedros said. “A laissez-faire attitude to the virus – not using the full range of tools available – leads to death, suffering and hurts livelihoods and economies.”