The director-general of the World Health Organization has warned governments that the continued international spread of the novel coronavirus is “not a drill” and will require significant action if public health authorities are to contain the deadly outbreak.
The call to action comes as the global number of people infected by the virus nears 100,000 — a grim milestone that now appears inevitable with self-sustaining clusters continuing to expand in South Korea, Japan, parts of Europe, Iran and the United States.
WHO chief Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said Thursday that although public health authorities across the globe have the ability to successfully combat the spread of the virus, the organization is concerned that in some countries the level of political commitment does not match the threat level.
“This is not a drill. This is not the time to give up. This is not a time for excuses. This is a time for pulling out all the stops. Countries have been planning for scenarios like this for decades. Now is the time to act on those plans,” Tedros said. “This epidemic can be pushed back, but only with a collective, coordinated and comprehensive approach that engages the entire machinery of government.”