Greatest threat is ‘not the virus itself’ - WHO warns

The head of the World Health Organisation has warned the greatest threat amid the coronavirus pandemic is not the disease itself.

Mr Ghebreyesus was almost brought to tears during his speech on Thursday. Picture: Fabrice Coffrini/POOL/AFP
The Director-General of the World Health Organisation has warned that the greatest threat facing the world is actually “not the virus itself”.

Make no mistake: the greatest threat we face now is not the virus itself, Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said during a speech in Geneva.

Instead, he blamed “lack of leadership” for the deadly pandemic that is still devastating the world, six months after it was first identified.

Dr Ghebreyesus called for global unity in this difficult time.

It’s the lack of leadership and solidarity at the global and national levels (that the world needs to focus on), he said.
This is a tragedy that is forcing us to miss many of our friends, losing many lives. We cannot defeat this pandemic as a divided world. How is it difficult for humans to unite to fight a common enemy that’s killing people indiscriminately? Are we unable to distinguish or identify the common enemy? Can‘t we understand that the divisions or the cracks between us actually are the advantage for the virus?

Dr Ghebreyesus argued for a coming-together of global powers, telling attendees: “COVID-19 is a test of global solidarity and global leadership.”

The WHO boss spoke passionately, and came close to tears.

Dr Ghebreyesus’s words come just days after the Trump administration announced its formal withdrawal from the WHO.

From July next year, the US will sever all ties with the global organisation.

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