The worst could be still to come in the Covid-19 pandemic, the World Health Organization (WHO) has warned, six months on from when the outbreak began.
WHO head Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said the virus would infect many more people if governments did not start to implement the right policies.
His message remained “Test, Trace, Isolate and Quarantine”, he said.
More than 10m cases have been recorded worldwide since coronavirus emerged in China late last year.
The number of patients who died is now above 500,000. Half the world’s cases have been in the US and Europe but Covid-19 is rapidly growing in the Americas.
The virus is also affecting South Asia and Africa, where it is not expected to peak until the end of July.
Dr Tedros told a virtual briefing on Monday: “We all want this to be over. We all want to get on with our lives. But the hard reality is this is not even close to being over.
“Although many countries have made some progress, globally the pandemic is actually speeding up.”
“With 10 million cases now and half a million deaths, unless we address the problems we’ve already identified at WHO, the lack of national unity and lack of global solidarity and the divided world which is actually helping the virus to spread… the worst is yet to come,” he said.
“I’m sorry to say that, but with this kind of environment and conditions we fear the worst.”
He also urged more governments to follow the examples of Germany, South Korea and Japan, which kept their outbreak in check through policies that included rigorous testing and tracing.