“We must not give up,” Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus told a virtual briefing.
He acknowledged that after months of battling the new coronavirus, which has claimed more than 1.1 million lives globally, a certain level of “pandemic fatigue” had set in.
But we cannot give up,” he added, urging leaders to “balance the disruption to lives and livelihoods”.
“When leaders act quickly, the virus can be suppressed,” he insisted.
His comment came a day after US President Donald Trump’s chief of staff Mark Meadows told CNN that the administration’s focus had moved to mitigation, not stamping out the virus.
“We’re not going to control the pandemic. We are going to control the fact that we get vaccines, therapeutics and other mitigations,” Meadows said, comparing the more deadly Covid-19 to the seasonal flu.
Tedros said that giving up on virus controls was “dangerous.”
When asked about the comments, WHO emergencies chief Michael Ryan insisted that while mitigation of the effects of the pandemic were vital, efforts to beat the virus could not be abandoned.
“We should not give up on trying to suppress transmission,” he said.