Dr. Mike Ryan, the head of the World Health Organization's Emergencies Program, has praised the Irish response to COVID-19, saying that it makes him proud to be Irish. 

Dr. Mike Ryan, who leads the team responsible for containing the deadly virus, complimented people and communities in Ireland who have taken WHO's advice in the fight against COVID-19.

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Dr. Ryan, who admitted "we've all been surprised by the severity of this virus," said on RTE on Thursday: "I really would like to commend the people in Ireland, the communities in Ireland, who have really taken on board this.

"They are looking after themselves, they are looking after each other; I’m proud to be an Irishman watching the way in which communities in Ireland have embraced, listened and acted to protect themselves and protect others."

Dr. Ryan added: "In Ireland, I think the government have done a very sound job in communicating and setting up a strategy that works. Nothing is perfect, things change every day.

"If you look around Europe and the situation in other countries, Ireland can say that it's doing well."

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Earlier in the interview, Dr. Ryan, a native of Co Sligo, said: "For other countries, it’s still very much beginning.

"The potential for this disease in vulnerable populations, in Africa, in refugees, in other vulnerable people around the world is worrying." 

He added: “We can reach control of this virus. We may not get rid of it completely, but we can reach a point where we can control the virus and with it, we can get our economies and social systems back on track.

"In order for that to happen, we have to use the time now that lockdowns are providing to put in place those comprehensive strategies and I think Ireland is doing a pretty good job at that right now."

Dr. Ryan was speaking as the number of confirmed cases of Coronavirus around the world moved past one million and the number of deaths past 50,000. 

You can watch Dr. Ryan's appearance on RTE News here:

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