11th August 2020, 17:46
Global confirmed cases of COVID-19 are set to pass 20 million this week. This is according to the World Health Organisation, which declared the novel coronavirus a pandemic exactly five months ago to the day.
In a media briefing, the WHO Director General, Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, said the death toll was also set to reach 750 thousand - adding that "behind these statistics is a great deal of pain and suffering".
However, the WHO chief added that there are "green shoots of hope", highlighting successful efforts to suppress the virus in countries such as New Zealand and Rwanda.
The WHO said there are two essential elements to addressing the pandemic effectively: leaders must step up to take action, and citizens need to embrace new measures. It also pointed to the progress being made on vaccines, diagnostic tools and therapies, but stressed that more global funding is needed to ensure everyone can access these.
The WHO said now is the time to invest in the basics of public health, and suppress the virus - adding this is the key to safely opening up societies.