The number of new COVID-19 cases globally has fallen for the third week in a row, the World Health Organization (WHO) reported on Monday, though urging countries not to let up efforts to defeat the disease.
“There are still many countries with increasing numbers of cases, but at the global level, this is encouraging news”, said WHO chief Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, speaking during the agency’s bi-weekly briefing from Geneva.
“It shows this virus can be controlled, even with the new variants in circulation. And it shows that if we keep going with the same proven public health measures, we can prevent infections and save lives”.
While welcoming the development, Tedros recalled “we have been here before”, and warned against complacency.
“Over the past year, there have been moments in almost all countries when cases declined, and governments opened up too quickly and individuals let down their guard, only for the virus to come roaring back”, he said.
The WHO chief stressed that as vaccines are rolled out, people everywhere must continue to take measures aimed at keeping themselves, and others, safe.
“It is vital that governments enable people to make the right choices, whether it is making quarantine easier to adhere to, or making workplaces safer,” he said.
“Controlling the spread of the virus saves lives now, and saves lives later by reducing the chances of more variants emerging. And it helps to ensure vaccines remain effective.”