WHO: Control of COVID-19 may require 'sacrifice for many, many people'
Two men play chess outdoors while wearing masks in a community in France, October 27, 2020. /CFP

Two men play chess outdoors while wearing masks in a community in France, October 27, 2020. /CFP

The World Health Organization (WHO) on Monday warned that getting the pandemic under control "may require sacrifice for many, many people" as many countries are getting worse amid the second wave of coronavirus.

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

"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," he added.

According to the WHO, last week saw the highest number of COVID-19 cases reported so far. Many countries in the northern hemisphere are seeing a concerning rise in cases and hospitalizations.

Intensive care units are filling up to capacity in some places, particularly in Europe and North America.

Data shows 27 European Union countries and the UK are seeing nearly 168,000 new cases per day, and at least half a million people in the United States have been infected with the novel coronavirus in just the last seven days.

WHO Director-General Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus also called for world leaders to stop the politicization of COVID-19 at the brief, stressing that when leaders act quickly and deliberately, the virus can be suppressed.

"But where there has been political division at the national level; where there has been blatant disrespect for science and health professionals, confusion has spread and cases and deaths have mounted," he said.

He also reassured that the world can have economic recovery, keep kids in school, reopen businesses, and get life back to normal as long as people take the virus seriously.

"We can do it! But we must all make trade-offs, compromises and sacrifices," he said, urging people to maintain physical distance, wear masks, clean hands regularly, cough away from others and avoid crowds.

Read more: "We Cannot Give Up," WHO Chief Says Of Pandemic fight