The World Health Organization's Director-General Tedros Adhanom said that the world is already seeing a resurgence of COVID-19 cases and deaths in some countries after many governments embarked on reopening economies.
The world Health Organization's Director-General Tedros Adhanom on Friday urged countries to ensure consistent funding for the health sector in order to enable the world to be better prepared for health crises.
Tedros made the call at a media briefing on the COVID-19 situation and progress of response.
"There has been a recurring pattern of money being thrown at outbreaks when they're already in full flow but then funds no longer being available to prevent the next outbreak," he said.
"With humility and togetherness we can plan for the long-term, and invest in health and preparedness. This isn't charity, it's an investment in our collective future," he added.
Tedros was speaking at a media briefing on the COVID-19 situation and progress of response.
"As some countries start to open up we see cases and deaths starting to spike and concerns about potential lack of hospital capacity," he said. "This is a critical moment for countries and we ask leaders to put targeted measures in place that we know can suppress the spread and ensure that health systems and workers are protected."
The WHO chief reiterated calls for adherence to health protocols in efforts to curb further spread of the virus.
"We ask you to continue to do the basics. Physical distancing, hand washing, mask wearing, coughing and sneezing safely away from others, avoiding crowds and keeping windows and doors open when you can't meet friends and family outside," he said.
Tedros' remarks came as the number of COVID-19 infections globally surpassed the 30.24 million mark, with a death toll exceeding 947,000, according to figures from the U.S.-based Johns Hopkins University.
The WHO chief also noted that the COVID-19 pandemic had proven that the world was woefully under prepared. He called for improved health surveillance to help the world tackle future crises faster.
"Let's ensure the recommendations are taken seriously and together our early warning and surveillance systems are improved so that we quickly and effectively curb outbreaks."
He reiterated calls for unity in the fight against the virus, as the number of infections globally surpassed the 30.24 million mark with a death toll exceeding 947,000, according to figures from the U.S.-based Johns Hopkins University.
Confirmed COVID-19 cases have exceeded 30.3 million globally, with over 949,000 fatalities and more than 20.6 million recoveries, according to the latest tally from Johns Hopkins University.
The Chinese mainland recorded 14 new cases on Friday, all from overseas. It is the 34th consecutive day the Chinese mainland has reported no new domestically transmitted cases.
The U.S. has registered more than 6.7 million infections and over 198,000 deaths – both the highest in the world.
President Trump said Friday that the U.S. would produce enough coronavirus vaccine doses for "every American" by April 2021. U.S. CDC reversed controversial guidance published last month and recommended people exposed to COVID-19 get tested.
UK imposed new local restrictions in parts of England on Friday after a significant increase in COVID-19 cases.
Israel entered a second nationwide lockdown on Friday at the onset of the Jewish high holiday season, forcing residents to stay mostly at home amid a resurgence in new cases.
The regional government of the Spanish capital Madrid ordered a lockdown from Monday in some of the poorer areas of the city and its outskirts that are home to about 850,000 people, after a surge in coronavirus infections there.
After the announcement, a few hundred protesters gathered in front of the offices of Madrid's regional government to demand Ayuso quit.
"The health centers are saturated in the south of the city and they have not done anything about it," said protester Rosa Baras, 65.
The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) on Friday updated again on its website the guidelines for testing people who do not have symptoms of novel coronavirus.
"Due to the significance of asymptomatic and pre-symptomatic transmission, this guidance further reinforces the need to test asymptomatic persons, including close contacts of a person with documented SARS-CoV-2 infection," according to the website.
"Testing is recommended for all close contacts of persons with SARS-CoV-2 infection. Because of the potential for asymptomatic and pre-symptomatic transmission, it is important that contacts of individuals with SARS-CoV-2 infection be quickly identified and tested," the CDC explained.
It is a change from the CDC guidance released last month which said testing might not be necessary for people without COVID-19 symptoms.
"Viral tests are recommended to diagnose acute infection of both symptomatic and asymptomatic individuals, to guide contact tracing, treatment options, and isolation requirements," according to the CDC website.
London has decided to cancel its iconic New Year's Eve fireworks this year due to the coronavirus pandemic, the city's mayor Sadiq Khan said Friday.
"We simply can't afford to have the number of people congregating on New Year's Eve," Khan told LBC Radio, adding that they were instead working on doing "something that people can enjoy in the comfort and safety of their living rooms on TV."
About 100,000 people usually attend the annual celebration of the start of the new year in central London. More than 12,000 fireworks feature in the display, which is set to music and watched by about 12 million people on TV. For the past five years, the event has been ticketed due to high demand, according to local media.
The government on Friday is considering whether to impose a second national lockdown as new cases surged dramatically in recent weeks.
On Thursday, Britain recorded 3,395 new cases, as its caseload hit 381,614, while death toll rose to 41,705.