WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus was speaking during his regular update on the new coronavirus disease, one day after the new designation was announced.
“This is a controllable pandemic. Countries that decide to give up on fundamental public health measures may end up with a larger problem, and a heavier burden on the health system that requires more severe measures to control”.
COVID-19 first emerged in Wuhan, China last December. As of Thursday, there were nearly 125,000 cases in 118 countries and territories.
Tedros said WHO has been “working day and night” to support countries in their response.
The agency also is working with the World Economic Forum and the International Chambers of Commerce to engage the private sector.
Additionally, more than $440 million has been pledged to WHO’s Strategic Preparedness and Response Plan.
“This is a new virus and a new situation. We’re all learning and we must all find new ways to prevent infections, save lives, and minimize impact. All countries have lessons to share”, he said.
More meetings cancelled at UN Headquarters
The UN Spokesperson told journalists in New York on Thursday that the Secretary General António Guterres “has taken the decision to cancel all United Nations system sponsored side events at Headquarters, from 16 March until the end of April, effective immediately.”
Stéphane Dujarric said the UN chief was calling on all Member States to consider cancelling all side events for meetings that they are sponsoring.
In a letter to Member States, Mr. Guterres said there was a three-phase response activation system to manage and coordinate health emergencies in place, with UN Headquarters in New York currently in phase two, which is an “active risk reduction mode”.
This includes taking measures for social distancing in the workplace and assessing the criticality of travel and meetings against associated risks.
The Spokesperson noted that “since the beginning of the outbreak”, the Secretary-General had been “balancing the safety and security of staff and representatives of Member States with the need to ensure that the work of the Organization continues, here and around the world.”
Darul Ihsan Media Desk