‘Countries are headed in the wrong direction’: WHO chief warns over coronavirus crisis

The coronavirus pandemic around the globe will worsen if countries fail to adhere to stricter healthcare precautions, the World Health Organization (WHO) warned on Monday.

“Let me be blunt, too many countries are headed in the wrong direction, the virus remains public enemy number one,” WHO Director General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus told a virtual briefing from the U.N. agency’s headquarters in Geneva.

“If basics are not followed, the only way this pandemic is going to go – it is going to get worse and worse and worse.” Global infections stand at 13 million with more than half a million deaths.

The United States and Brazil have been worst hit.

WHO emergencies head Mike Ryan suggested that some places in the Americas should “limit or geographically focus lockdowns that suppress transmission in specific areas where transmission is frankly out of control”.

He urged countries not to make schools into a political football, saying schools could safely reopen once the virus had been suppressed.

Tedros said the WHO had still not received formal notification of the rocedure, before beginning work with Chinese scientists, Ryan said.