Coronavirus pandemic getting worse globally, says WHO chief Tedros

WHO chief Tedros is seen on a screen during a video hearing on EU strategy for Covid-19 in Brussels, June 25, 2020.
WHO chief Tedros is seen on a screen during a video hearing on EU strategy for Covid-19 in Brussels, June 25, 2020.PHOTO: EPA-EFE

BRUSSELS (REUTERS) - The Covid-19 pandemic is subsiding in Europe, but getting worse globally with the number of infections expected to reach 10 million next week and the number of deaths 500,000, the head of the World Health Organisation (WHO) Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said on Thursday (June 25).

Dr Tedros also added it is not certain that scientists will be able to create an effective vaccine against the coronavirus that has caused the pandemic, but it could take a year before one were to be invented.

Speaking by video-conference to deputies from the European Parliament’s health committee, Dr Tedros said that if such a vaccine became a reality, it should become a public good available to all.

"It would be very difficult to say for sure that we will have a vaccine," Dr Tedros said. "We never had a vaccine for a coronavirus. So this will be, when discovered, hoping that it will be discovered, it will be the first one."

He said the WHO had already more than 100 candidates for a vaccine of which one was at an advanced stage of development.

"Hoping that there will be a vaccine, the estimate is we may have a vaccine within one year. If accelerated, it could be even less than that, but by a couple of months. That’s what scientists are saying," he said.

Once the pandemic was over, Dr Tedros told the committee, the world should not return to its previous state, but build a "new normal" that would be fairer, greener and help prevent climate change.