Although COVID-19 cases are on track to hit 20 million worldwide this week, and 750,000 deaths, the head of the World Health Organization (WHO) has pointed to “green shoots of hope” amidst the global crisis, while urging both governments and people everywhere to work to suppress the new coronavirus.
Tedros Ghebreyesus said that, more than 100 billion dollars will be needed to ensure everyone globally can access the tools to fight COVID-19.
This is according to data from Johns Hopkins University, which puts the total number of deaths globally at almost 734,000.
The United States has the unenviable distinction of having 5 million confirmed coronavirus cases as of Sunday.
“We are only 10 per cent of the way to funding the billions required to realise the promise of the ACT Accelerator”, he said.
Two other countries have case counts in the millions: Brazil is at more than 3 million and India surpassed the 2 million mark last week.
It is followed by Asia (495,663), Canada and the USA (379,017), Europe (153,879), Africa (89,644), Middle East (74,588) and Oceania (3,372).
The UN’s top official also commended nations in Southeast Asia, the Caribbean and the Pacific, which took early action to suppress the virus. Australia is struggling with a COVID-19 resurgence, and has greatly restricted the city of Melbourne in an effort to slow the spread.
The WHO chief had recently said that the COVID-19 pandemic can not be defeated in a divided world, and he hopes the United States will “reconsider its position” on the decision to withdraw from the organization.
It was a different story in Pakistan, which allowed all restaurants and parks to reopen on Monday after the country saw a drop in new cases over several weeks.
“Rwanda’s progress is due to a similar combination of strong leadership, universal health coverage, well-supported health workers and clear public health communications”, he added. For example, U.K. Prime Minister Boris Johnson put parts of northern England under stay-at-home orders and French President Emmanuel Macron mandated masks in busy outdoor areas.
“My message is crystal clear: suppress, suppress, suppress the virus”, he said.
Throughout the pandemic, World Health Organization has been recommending measures such as rapid case identification, contact tracing, physical distancing, mask wearing, and frequent hand washing.