The head of the World Health Organization (WHO) today said some countries are depending on their health ministry to shoulder the battle against COVID-19 and that a whole-of-government approach is needed, as the novel coronavirus spreads to more countries and fuels hot spots across multiple continents.

New cases piled up again today at a brisk pace in three hard-hit countries—Iran, Italy, and South Korea.

At a WHO telebriefing today, Tedros warned that even high-income countries should expect surprises and the solution is aggressive preparedness. “We are concerned that in some countries the level of political commitment and the actions that demonstrate that commitment do not match the level of the threat we all face,” he said. “This is not a drill.”

Tedros pushed countries to educate the public, increase testing capacity, get hospitals ready, and ensure that essential supplies are on hand.

He also said the WHO has launched a new social media campaign called “Be ready for COVID-19” that urges people to be safe, smart, and informed.

Iran launches new steps; Palestine reports first cases

Credit: iStock, Martin Barraud

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