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WHO Director-General Warns Against Politicization of COVID-19 Pandemic

WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus attends a news conference organized by Geneva Association of United Nations Correspondents (ACANU) amid the COVID-19 outbreak, caused by the novel coronavirus, in Geneva, July 3, 2020.

The World Health Organization Monday once again warned nations against “the politicization” of the COVID-19 pandemic, saying it has led to confusion and disrespect for science, and made the pandemic worse.

At the agency’s regular briefing, WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said last week saw the highest number of COVID-19 cases reported since the pandemic began. Many northern hemisphere nations are also seeing a rise in hospitalizations, with intensive care units filling up in Europe and North America.

Tedros said in recent days, several leaders around the world critically evaluated their situations and took action, such as implementing lockdowns, working and studying from home and other restrictions to try to limit the spread of the virus.

He said the WHO understands how these restrictions lead to “pandemic fatigue,” and the very real mental and physical toll they take on people. But he said governments and citizens cannot give up, noting there are no “magic solutions” to the outbreak just hard work from leaders and society at all levels.

“Science continues to tell us the truth about this virus. How to contain it, suppress it and stop it from returning, and how to save lives among those it reaches,” said the WHO chief.

Tedros said countries that have followed the science have suppressed the virus and minimized deaths.

But, he said, “where there has been political division at the national level; where there has been blatant disrespect for science and health professionals, confusion has spread, and cases and deaths have mounted.”

The director-general said, “what will save lives is science, solutions and solidarity.”