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WHO demands return of Covid masks

With cases of Covid-19 trending upward globally, World Health Organization Director General Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus called on Tuesday for authorities to bring back masking, ventilation, and social distancing. 

Speaking during a weekly briefing, Tedros stated that “the virus is running freely, and countries are not effectively managing the disease.” With the WHO concluding last week that the virus remains a ‘Public Health Emergency of International Concern’, Tedros asserted that the pandemic was “nowhere near over.”

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During the week of July 4-10, 2022, over 5.7 million new cases of Covid-19 were reported, a 6% increase compared to the previous week. Deaths, however, have remained relatively flat throughout this summer, with just over 9,800 reported in the week leading up to July 4, five times fewer than the same week last year.

READ MORE: Hong Kong unveils Covid quarantine bracelets

Tedros called on national authorities to step up their efforts in “communicating risk” to the public, and called for a return of “public health social measures like masking, distancing and ventilation.”

Mask mandates and social distancing requirements were largely abandoned earlier this year, although some countries – among them China and South Korea – still require face masks in most public settings. 

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