GENEVA (Reuters) – The World Health Organization (WHO) said on Monday the challenge of the coronavirus was not a choice between life and livelihoods, but that they were both part of the same fight.
It also said there was no time for complacency in confronting the coronavirus despite positive news about possible vaccines.
“The quickest way to open up economies is to defeat the virus,” WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus told a virtual briefing in Geneva.
He said G20 leaders would meet this weekend, giving them an opportunity to commit financially and politically to the COVAX global facility, set up to provide COVID-19 vaccines to poorer countries.
Several companies have published promising results with their vaccine candidates, but Tedros warned that people should not be complacent.
“Right now we are extremely concerned by the surge in COVID-19 cases we’re seeing in some countries,” Tedros said.
“Particularly in Europe and the Americas, health workers and health systems are being pushed to breaking point.”
More than 54.44 million people have been reported infected by the coronavirus globally and 1,318,042 have died, according to a Reuters tally.
Infections have been reported in more than 210 countries and territories since the first cases were identified in China last December.
(Reporting by Stephanie Nebehay and Emma Farge in Geneva and Michael Shields in Zurich; Writing by Nick Macfie; Editing by Janet Lawrence)