Dr. Michael Ryan(L), executive director of the World Health Organization (WHO) Health Emergencies Program, addresses a press conference in Geneva, Switzerland, Feb. 18, 2020. (Photo by Chen Junxia/Xinhua)

"People need to wake up. The data is not lying. The situation on the ground is not lying," said WHO Emergencies Director Michael Ryan.

GENEVA, July 4 (Xinhua) -- The World Health Organization (WHO) on Friday urged countries hit by coronavirus disease to "wake up" to the pandemic situation on the ground and to "take control" of the spread of the virus.

"People need to wake up. The data is not lying. The situation on the ground is not lying," Michael Ryan, WHO emergencies director, told reporters here.

So far, the coronavirus disease has infected at least 11 million people and killed over 129,000 people across the globe. The Americas are the hardest-hit region with most cases and deaths registered in the United States.

Noting that "too many countries are ignoring what the data is telling them," the WHO official said "it is never too late in an epidemic to take control."

"There are good economic reasons that the countries need to bring their economies back online," he said. "It is understandable, but you can't ignore the problem either. The problem will not magically go away."  ■

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