The time to act to fight the novel coronavirus was one or two months ago, and countries “squandered” the opportunity, according to the director-general of the World Health Organization.

Speaking at a press conference Wednesday, WHO director-general Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said his organization had been warning for months about the dangers of COVID-19, but countries didn’t take action.

2:40WHO outlines 6 steps for countries to help control the coronavirus outbreak

WHO outlines 6 steps for countries to help control the coronavirus outbreak

“If you remember, we have been saying for more than two months now, this virus is public enemy number one,” he said.

“We had been saying to the world that the window of opportunity is narrowing and the time to act was actually more than a month ago, two months ago.


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“I think we squandered the first window of opportunity. But we are saying today in my message, I made it clear that this is a second opportunity which we should not squander and do everything to suppress and control this virus.”

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According to research compiled by Johns Hopkins University, as of Wednesday, there were more than 450,000 cases of COVID-19 worldwide, with more than 20,000 deaths.

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