Brazil still faces 'big challenge' fighting new coronavirus - WHO

FILE PHOTO: A street cleaner disinfects a street wearing protective clothing (PPE), during the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) outbreak, in the municipality of Breves, on Marajo island, Para state, Brazil, June 3, 2020. Picture taken June 3, 2020. REUTERS/Ueslei Marcelino

GENEVA (Reuters) - Brazil still faces a “big challenge” in fighting the new coronavirus, a top World Health Organization (WHO) official said on Monday, urging federal and state authorities there to work together more closely.

“There is no question. Brazil is still facing a big challenge,” Mike Ryan, head of the WHO emergencies programme, told a virtual briefing. He described the situation in the Americas generally as “difficult”.

Asked by a journalist to react to U.S. President Donald Trump’s use of the term “kung flu” or other references to the virus as being Chinese, Ryan urged the use of an “international discourse that is based on mutual respect”.

“Many people around the world have used unfortunate language in this response”,” he said. “We try to focus on the way ahead, try to focus on what we need to do.”

(This story corrects to change word in Ryan quote in paragraph four from “inappropriate” to “unfortunate” and adds “around the world”)

Reporting by Emma Farge; Editing by Alison Williams