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Giving up on virus control ‘dangerous’: WHO chief

The World Health Organization said Monday that “giving up on control” of the coronavirus pandemic was “dangerous”, in response to comments from US President Donald Trump’s chief of staff Mark Meadows.

“We should not give up and that’s why we are saying, although we agree with the chief of staff that protecting the vulnerable is important — but giving up on control is dangerous,” WHO chief Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus told a virtual press conference.

The WHO chief insisted that it was still possible to rein in Covid-19 even in places with surging outbreaks, warning against giving up the fight.

“We must not give up,” Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus told a virtual briefing.

He acknowledged that after months of battling the new coronavirus, which has claimed more than 1.1 million lives globally, a certain level of “pandemic fatigue” had set in.

“It’s tough and the fatigue is real,” Tedros said.

But we cannot give up,” he added, urging leaders to “balance the disruption to lives and livelihoods”.

“When leaders act quickly, the virus can be suppressed,” he insisted.

His comment came a day after US President Donald Trump’s chief of staff Mark Meadows told CNN that the administration’s focus had moved to mitigation, not stamping out the virus.

“We’re not going to control the pandemic. We are going to control the fact that we get vaccines, therapeutics and other mitigations,” Meadows said, comparing the more deadly Covid-19 to the seasonal flu.

Tedros said that giving up on virus controls was “dangerous.”

When asked about the comments, WHO emergencies chief Michael Ryan insisted that while mitigation of the effects of the pandemic were vital, efforts to beat the virus could not be abandoned.

“We should not give up on trying to suppress transmission,” he said.

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