WHO chief: ‘The virus remains public enemy No. 1’

World Health Organization Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said on Monday, "If basics are not followed, the only way this pandemic is going to go, is ... to get worse and worse and worse. But it does not have to be this way."

Video Transcript

TEDROS ADHANOM GHEBREYESUS: Let me be blunt. Too many countries are headed in the wrong direction. The virus remains public enemy number one, but the actions of many governments and people do not reflect of this.

The only aim of the virus is to find people to infect. Mixed messages from leaders are undermining the most critical ingredient of any response-- trust. If governments do not clearly communicate with their citizens and roll out a comprehensive strategy focused on suppressing transmission and saving lives, if populations do not follow the basic public health principles of physical distancing, handwashing, wearing masks, coughing etiquette, and staying at home when sick, if the basics aren't followed, there is only one way this pandemic is going to go. It's going to get worse and worse and worse.

But it does not have to be this way. Every single leader, every single government, and every single person can do their bit to break off chains of transmission and end the collective suffering.