Pandemic effects could be felt for 'decades to come': WHO chief
World Health Organization Director-General Tedros Adhanom said on Friday the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic may be felt for "decades to come," having already infected more than 17.6 million people and killed over 680,000 worldwide.
Tedros made the remarks at the fourth meeting of the Emergency Committee on COVID-19, which he convened under the International Health Regulations (2005) (IHR).
"The pandemic is a once-in-a-century health crisis, the effects of which will be felt for decades to come," said Tedros.
The WHO chief highlighted the changing situation regarding the pandemic, as various countries continue to report a resurgence in new infections.
"Many countries that believed they were past the worst are now grappling with new outbreaks. Some that were less affected in the earliest weeks are now seeing escalating numbers of cases and deaths. And some that had large outbreaks have brought them under control," he said.
The emergency committee made a range of recommendations to both WHO and state parties. It advised WHO to continue to mobilize global and regional multilateral organizations and partners for COVID-19 preparedness and response, to support member states in maintaining health services, while accelerating the research and eventual access to diagnostics, therapeutics and vaccines.
As the COVID-19 numbers continue to increase globally, various countries have resorted to reopening their economies and easing restrictions after weeks-long lockdowns.
The WHO has however repeatedly urged governments not to make any rushed decisions in order to avoid any second waves of infections.