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WHO chief: Letting the virus run unchecked is 'playing with fire'

The recent surge in Covid-19 cases in some countries, particularly in Europe and the Americas, has the World Health Organization (WHO) ‘extremely concerned’.

"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. Those countries that are letting the virus run unchecked are playing with fire as there will be further needless deaths and suffering," said WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus during a press briefing.

The combined region of Europe and the United states have recorded more than 70 per cent of the overall confirmed cases and over 77 per cent of all Covid-19 deaths worldwide. The region has witnessed record daily spikes in infection in the past few weeks.

"A significant number of people are experiencing long-term effects of the virus and health workers in particular are facing extreme mental health pressure. Cases are severely burdening health systems in too many countries," said Tedros.

He added that the WHO and its partners are working with governments and health leaders to ensure cover for health workers who are sick and enough beds for Covid-19 patients. Enough masks, gloves and other protective equipments are also being provided for essential health services to continue safely.

"A laissez-faire attitude to the virus, not using the full range of tools available, leads to death, suffering and hurts livelihoods and economies," he said while urging the governments to put restrictions in place so that there is once again a "narrow window of time" to strengthen key systems.
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"There is no excuse for inaction. My message is very clear: act fast, act now, act decisively," insisted Tedros.</span>.