World Health Organization director-general warned governments that significant action is necessary to contain the continued international spread of the novel coronavirus.
As the global number of infected people nears 100,000, a call to action has been made as it is becoming inevitable for the numbers to rise, especially in South Korea, Japan, Iran, parts of Europe and the United States.
Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus pointed out that while public health authorities around the world can successfully combat the spread of the virus, they are concerned that some of the countries’ political commitment does not match the threat level.
“This is not a drill. This is not the time to give up. This is not a time for excuses. This is a time for pulling out all the stops,” he said.
He added, “Countries have been planning for scenarios like this for decades. Now is the time to act on those plans.”
“This epidemic can be pushed back, but only with a collective, coordinated and comprehensive approach that engages the entire machinery of government.”
The now-called COVID-19 has spread in more than 80 countries and territories since it was first discovered in Wuhan, China in December.
Several health experts suggest that the new clusters in Europe and Middle East may speed up the global spread of the disease.
The world’s second most populous country, India, have identified 30 cases so far, in which the majority is linked to travelers who came from Italy.
This leads to fears that the country may see its own outbreak anytime soon.
The director-general said that all governments “should be preparing for sustained community transmission.”
“Our message to all countries is: This is not a one-way street. We can push this virus back. Your actions now will determine the course of the outbreak in your country.”
His statements come after increasing criticism of apparent series of failed testing and the health officials’ response to the outbreak worldwide.