TORONTO -- The World Health Organization (WHO) highlighted Canada on Monday as one of the countries that has done well in its handling of the pandemic by bringing its outbreak "under control.”

Speaking at a virtual press conference, WHO Director-General Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said that “COVID-19 has changed our world. It has brought people, communities and nations together and driven them apart. It has shown what humans are capable of, both positively and negatively.”

Globally, over 16 million cases of COVID-19 have been identified, and more than 650,000 people have died since the virus first emerged.

Although health experts and world leaders are still learning how to respond as the situation goes on, Tedros emphasized that the “fundamental pillars of the response” have not changed: isolating and testing suspected COVID-19 patients, quarantining their contacts and promoting such virus-fighting measures as physical distancing, hand-washing, avoiding crowded and enclosed areas, and wearing a face mask.

"When these measures are followed, cases go down. When they are not, cases go up,” he said.

“Countries and communities that have followed this advice carefully and consistently have done well, either in preventing large-scale outbreaks like Cambodia, New Zealand, Rwanda, Thailand, Vietnam and islands in the Pacific and Caribbean. Or in bringing large outbreaks under control like Canada, China, Germany and the Republic of Korea.”

There have been more than 114,000 cases of COVID-19 in Canada so far, with almost 9,000 dead and at least 6,000 cases still active. Case numbers peaked in May, and after a number of lockdown measures and new rules were introduced to safeguard the public, the numbers have been on a steady decline, although the end of July has brought a small increase in COVID-19 cases.

In Tedros’ comments Monday, he added that there were many more countries he could have listed as exemplary in their handling of the pandemic.

What sets apart those who have been successful thus far and those who have not is the willpower to act, he said.

"The bottom line is that one of the most fundamental ingredients for stopping this virus is determination and the willingness to make hard choices to keep ourselves and each other safe.”