World in better preparedness for COVID-19 than a week ago: WHO head

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GENEVA, Feb. 14 (Xinhua) — The World Health Organization (WHO) Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said on Friday that countries around the world are in a better state of preparedness for COVID-19 than they were just a week ago.

Speaking through an online video system from Kinshasa, the capital of the Democratic Republic of Congo, where he had met with officials to review the progress that has been made toward ending the Ebola outbreak, the WHO chief said that his organization’s efforts to help countries boost their lab capacity will continue.

“I would like to urge the whole world to recommit to getting to zero Ebola cases. But it is also vitally important that resources and attention focus on strengthening the country’s health system and bolstering preparedness,” he said.

“Whether it’s Ebola or COVID-19, investing in preparedness is the smartest way to ensure disease outbreaks are identified and stopped quickly,” he added.

Praising hard work of Chinese health workers and responders in fighting COVID-19, the WHO chief also stressed that the world needs to be more united to stand in unison with those at the epicenter in China saving lives and alleviating suffering.

“I want to say again, from my heart, that this is the time for solidarity, not stigma,” he said.

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