Dr Tedros Ghebreyesus, the Director-General of the World Health Organisation (WHO), has urged everyone to play a part in preventing a further spread of COVID-19.
He also warned that there would be no return to “the old normal”.
Ghebreyesus who made the call at a news conference at WHO Headquarters in Geneva, said that COVID-19 cases worldwide had surpassed 15 million and nearly 620,000 deaths.
“Most cases, or 10 million, were in just 10 countries, with the United States, Brazil and India accounting for nearly half; the US had passed the milestone of four million infections.
“We are asking everyone to treat the decisions about where they go, what they do and who they meet with, as life-and-death decisions – because they are.
“It may not be your life, but your choices can be the difference between life and death for someone you love, or for a complete stranger.”
The director-general said that COVID-19 had disrupted the lives of billions across the globe, adding that it was understandable that people would want to get on with their lives.
“But we will not be going back to the ‘old normal’. The pandemic has already changed the way we live our lives.
“Part of adjusting to the ‘new normal’ is finding ways to live our lives safely,” he advised.
He said that in recent weeks, outbreaks associated with nightclubs and other places where people had gathered had been reported, even in locations where virus transmission had been suppressed.
“We must remember that most people are still susceptible to this virus. As long as it is circulating, everyone is at risk.
“Just because cases might be at a low level where you live, that does not make it safe to let down your guard.”
Ghebreyesus underlined that anyone, regardless of age or where they live, could help lead in efforts to beat the pandemic and build back a better society.
“In recent years, we have seen young people leading grassroots’ movements for climate change and racial equality.”
He said that the world needed young people to start a global movement for health, for a world in which health will be a human right and not a privilege. (NAN)