WHO's Ryan says some countries didn't hear early COVID-19 warning

FILE PHOTO: Mike Ryan, Executive Director of the World Health Organisation (WHO) attends a news conference on the Ebola outbreak in the Democratic Republic of Congo at the United Nations in Geneva, Switzerland May 3, 2019. REUTERS/Denis Balibouse

GENEVA (Reuters) – Some countries should have listened more carefully when the World Health Organisation declared a global health emergency in January 2020, Mike Ryan, the WHO’s top emergency expert, said on Monday.

The WHO declared a public health emergency of international concern, its “highest level of alarm”, on Jan. 30 and described the coronavirus as a “pandemic” for the first time on March 11.

Asked if the organisation should have used the term “pandemic” sooner, Ryan said: “Maybe we needed to shout louder, but maybe some people need hearing aids.”

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