Countries in Europe and the Americas must not be complacent at this time, the Director-General of the World Health Organization (WHO) has said. Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus issued the warning during his opening remarks at the WHO’s media briefing on coronavirus. He explained what needed to be done to combat the “surge in cases” that is being seen in certain areas of the world.
Dr Tedros said: “This is not the time for complacency.
“While we continue to receive encouraging news about COVID-19 vaccines and remain cautiously optimistic about the potential for new tools to start to arrive in the coming months.
“Right now we are extremely concerned by the surge in cases we’re seeing in some countries.
“Particularly in Europe and the Americas, health workers and health systems are being pushed to the breaking point.”
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He continued: “WHO has issued guidance and tools to increase capacity for the medical and public health workforce and supplies and facilities to manage COVID-19 patients.
“At present, WHO has 150 emergency medical teams assisting countries in the planning and implementation of their emergency responses.
“WHO and partners are working with governments and health leaders to ensure that there is cover for health workers that are sick.
“That there are enough beds for COVID-19 patients and for essential health services to continue safely.”
Many countries across Europe have been forced into a second national lockdown as a response to the surge in cases.
Both France and the UK saw a concerning return to coronavirus infections around the same number as at the height of the pandemic before summer.
The announcement of two possibly effective vaccines has been welcomed by the international community.
Pharmaceutical company Pfizer said that early data suggests its potential vaccine is “more than 90 percent effective” against COVID-19.
US company Moderna has announced results from their preliminary trial data suggesting that their vaccine has an effectiveness of 94.5 percent.