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5 Oct, 2020 15:51

‘1 in 10 people may have caught coronavirus’: WHO warns of new difficult period as 'vast majority' of people still at risk

‘1 in 10 people may have caught coronavirus’: WHO warns of new difficult period as 'vast majority' of people still at risk

Roughly 10 percent of the world’s population may have been infected with the novel coronavirus – and this leaves the majority of the world at risk, the World Health Organization’s head of emergencies has warned.

About one in 10 people may have been infected with the coronavirus globally, Mike Ryan, WHO head of emergencies, told the agency’s executive board on Monday.

Speaking to the agency’s executive board, Mike Ryan acknowledged that the infection level varies depending on country, group, and whether it’s an urban or rural area, “but what it does mean is that the vast majority of the world remains at risk.”

We are now heading into a difficult period. The disease continues to spread.

The official first mentioned the figure of 10 percent on Friday, noting that it was “our best guess” in relation to the global rate of infection to date, and those who have antibodies for the virus. The world is in “for a hell of a ride for the next eight or nine months” as it awaits a vaccine, Ryan told a webinar hosted by the Royal Irish Academy.

He maintained, however, that a vaccine will “not be a silver bullet, but an additional tool that should be added to a comprehensive strategy to fight this disease.”

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Last week, the world crossed a “grim” milestone, with over a million lives lost to the coronavirus pandemic, the WHO announced.

“Over the years we have had many reports, reviews and recommendations all saying the same thing: the world is not prepared for a pandemic. COVID-19 has laid bare the truth: when the time came, the world was still not ready,” WHO Director-General Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said.

He added that the world needs to invest in preparedness, with an all-of-government and all-of-society approach.

Meanwhile, at Monday’s board meeting, in which the US once again complained that China “failed” to provide accurate and timely information on the outbreak, Ryan said the WHO has submitted a list of experts to take part in an international mission for Chinese government approval. The experts will work to investigate the origins of the coronavirus.

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