World Health Organization Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus (right) speaks with WHO Health Emergencies Programme Director Dr. Michael Ryan during a press briefing on COVID-19 at the WHO headquarters in Geneva on March 6, 2020.
  • As Covid-19 cases surge across the world, the World Health Organisation has warned that countries may need to impose stricter lockdown measures to get the virus under control.
  • "We're well behind this virus," Dr Mike Ryan, a WHO official said, adding that controlling the virus may "require a sacrifice for many, many people in terms of their personal lives."
  • Non-essential businesses may have to shut down again to take the "heat" out of this stage of the pandemic, Ryan said.
  • The WHO also warned the virus is beginning to "leak" into older and more vulnerable populations. The average age of those infected is beginning to creep up, it warned.
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The World Health Organisation (WHO) warned Monday that the world was "well behind" where it should be on Covid-19, and that getting the crisis under control "may require sacrifice for many, many people".

"We're well behind this virus," Dr. Mike Ryan, executive director of the WHO's health emergencies program, said at a press conference in Geneva. "We will have to get ahead of this virus, and [that] may require sacrifice for many, many people in terms of their personal lives," he added.

His warning came as Covid-19 cases surged, particularly in the US and Europe.

WHO officials said some countries may have to consider closing down non-essential businesses again to stem the tide.

"It may require shutting down and restricting movement and having stay-at-home orders in order to take the heat out of this phase of the pandemic," Ryan said.

The WHO also criticized some nations for not doing enough to reduce the spread of the virus during the first wave of the pandemic.

Ryan said: "We are seeing a large number of cases, we are seeing widespread disease, we are seeing very, very high positivity rates and an increasing lack of capacity to do any effective form of contact tracing."

In August, the WHO said that young people were the primary spreaders of the virus

But WHO officials said Monday that the coronavirus is starting to "leak" into older and more vulnerable populations.

"We are seeing a creeping up in the average age," said Maria Van Kerkhove, the WHO's technical lead.

The statements from the WHO come as Covid-19 cases are surging.

Dr. Anthony Fauci, the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, warned Sunday that the US is "going on the wrong direction" on Covid-19 following record daily rises. 

France also recorded its own record daily rise in cases on Sunday, with 52,000 new cases. On October 22, Spain and France became the first European countries to pass 1 million cases.

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