"It tells us how frequently infection occurs among different populations, how many people have had mild or asymptomatic infection, and how many people have been infected but may not have been identified by routine disease surveillance".
The WHO Emergency Committee on COVID-19, convened by WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus under the International Health Regulations (IHR), held its fourth meeting on Friday (July 31), WHO said in an online statement released on Saturday.
The novel coronavirus is here to stay, even once vaccines are widely available.
"They can be leaders - they should be leaders and drivers of change", he said, adding that all people have a role to play in reducing the risk of exposure to COVID-19. "The emergency committee" [composé de 18membres et 12conseillers] "underlined the importance of a response which must be national, regional and global" to the pandemic.
The novel coronavirus has killed almost 675,000 people and infected at least 17.3 million since it emerged in China last December, according to a tally from official sources compiled by AFP.
The emergency committee made a range of recommendations to both World Health Organization and state parties.
The committee also urged the agency to accelerate research into the remaining "critical unknowns" of the virus, such as the animal source and potential animal reservoirs.
The committee will meet again within three months. "Most people on the planet can be affected, even those who do not live in hard-hit areas".
"It's sobering to think that six months ago, when you recommended I declare a PHEIC, there were less than 100 cases and no deaths outside China", he said Friday.
The global health watchdog has been severely criticised for the amount of time it took to declare the pandemic an worldwide emergency.
The committee also recommends that World Health Organization accelerate research on the still unknown points of the virus, in particular its animal origin and its possible means of propagation by animal.