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By Emma Farge
GENEVA, June 29 (Reuters) - The COVID-19 pandemic is not even close to being over, World Health Organization chief Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus told a briefing on Monday.
Tedros noted that, six months after China first alerted the WHO to a novel respiratory infection, the grim milestones of 10 million confirmed infections and 500,000 deaths had been reached.
"Most people remain susceptible, the virus still has a lot of room to move," he said.
"We all want this to be over. We all want to get on with our lives. But the hard reality is that this is not even close to being over. Although many countries have made some progress globally, the pandemic is actually speeding up."
The head of the WHO's emergencies programme, Mike Ryan, told the briefing that tremendous progress had been made towards finding a safe and effective vaccine to prevent infection, but there was still no guarantee the effort would succeed.
In the meantime, countries could fight the spread of the disease by testing, isolating confirmed cases and tracking their contacts, he said. He singled out Japan, South Korea and Germany for their "comprehensive, sustained strategy" against the virus.
The WHO plans to convene a meeting this week to assess progress in research towards fighting the disease, Tedros said. (Reporting by Michael Shields, Emma Farge and Stephanie Nebehay; Writing by Peter Graff; Editing by Kevin Liffey)
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