WHO chief says pandemic 'nowhere near over,' urges masks as cases rise

Urges "tried and tested measures" in face of upswing.
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Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesu in German, June 27, 2022
Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesu in German, June 27, 2022
(Michael Kappeller/Getty)

The head of the World Health Organization this week warned that governments should re-deploy mitigation measures such as mask-wearing in the face of globally rising infection rates of SARS-CoV-2. 

WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said at a media briefing this week that "cases of COVID-19 continue to rise," a trend which was "putting further pressure on stretched health systems and health workers."

"New waves of the virus demonstrate again that the COVID-19 is nowhere near over," he said. "As the virus pushes at us, we must push back."

Ghebreyesus urged governments to "deploy tried and tested measures like masking, improved ventilation and test and treat protocols," as well as "regularly review and adjust their COVID-19 response plans based on the current epidemiology and also the potential for new variants to appear."

The director also suggested leaders should "work to reverse the reduction in surveillance, testing and sequencing" that have come as cases have declined worldwide. 

COVID cases worldwide began creeping upward in early June, rising slowly over that time though still nowhere near the peak of the omicron wave in early 2022. 

Deaths attributed to COVID, meanwhile, have largely remained flat over that time, though they began slowly edging upward earlier this month.