The World Health Organization (WHO) urged countries on Monday to press on with efforts to contain the novel coronovirus, noting the pandemic was worsening globally and had not peaked in central America.

"More than six months into the pandemic this is not the time for any country to take its foot off the pedal," WHO Director General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus told an online briefing, Reuters reported.

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His top emergencies expert, Dr. Mike Ryan, said cases of infection in central American countries were still on the rise.

"I think this is a time of great concern," he said, calling for strong government leadership and international support for the region.

Maria van Kerkhove, a WHO epidemiologist, told the briefing a "comprehensive approach" was essential in South America.

Ryan said the need now was to focus on preventing second peaks of COVID-19, the respiratory disease caused by the coronavirus that has infected more than 7 million people and killed more than 400,000.

"This is far from over," van Kerkhove said.