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Source: United Nations (Video News)

WHO Director-General Dr Tedros Ghebreyesus reiterated his call to “stop the politicization of COVID-19. A pandemic is not a political football. Wishful thinking or deliberate diversion will not prevent transmissions or save lives.”

Speaking at the regular COVID-19 press briefing in Geneva on Monday (26 Oct), the Director-General of the World Health Organization (WHO) Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said “over the weekend, a number of leaders critically evaluated their situation and took action to limit the spread of the virus. We understand the pandemic fatigue that people are feeling. It takes a mental and physical toll on everyone. Working from home, children being schooled remotely, not being able to celebrate milestones with friends and family or not being there to mourn loved ones – it’s tough and the fatigue is real.”

“But we cannot give up. We must not give up,” he underlined.

“No one wants more so-called lockdowns,” Dr Tedros said. “But if we want to avoid them, we all have to play our part. The fight against this pandemic is everybody’s business. We cannot have the economic recovery we want and live our lives the way we did before the pandemic. We can keep our kids in school, we can keep businesses open, we can preserve lives and livelihoods. We can do it. But we must all make trade-offs, compromises and sacrifices.”

He also 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. This is why I have said repeatedly: stop the politicization of COVID-19. A pandemic is not a political football. Wishful thinking or deliberate diversion will not prevent transmissions or save lives.”

“We can avoid national lockdowns, we can avoid massive restrictive movements if everyone plays their part,” said Dr Maria Van Kerkhove, COVID-19 Technical lead of the WHO’s Health Emergencies Programme. ” This does mean as the director-general has said, as we have said, it means individual sacrifices. And, in many parts of Europe and in North America in particular, there are many things that each of us can do. The decisions that we make every day about avoiding crowded spaces, about avoiding enclosed settings for prolonged periods of time, about postponing some of those gatherings that we may want to have. And, it’s sacrifices that we all have to make.”

“We’re well behind this virus in Europe. So, getting ahead of it is going to take some serious acceleration in what we do and maybe a much more comprehensive nature of measures that are going to be needed to catch up with and get ahead of this virus,” said Dr Mike Ryan Executive Director of the WHO’s Health Emergencies Programme. “Testing tells you what your status is today, this hour, it tells you nothing about what your status will be tonight or tomorrow or the next day. And to base your activities or your behavior on that is frankly a dangerous thing to do.”

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