He said he had sent a letter to all WHO members asking them to join the multilateral COVAX vaccine effort.
Infections have been reported in more than 210 countries and territories since the first cases were identified in China in December 2019.
In a briefing on Monday, Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus acknowledged that “behind these statistics there is a great deal of pain and suffering” but said there were still “green shoots of hope” no matter what stage in an outbreak a country or region might be.
WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus and WHO emergencies head Mike Ryan exhorted all nations to rigorously enforce health measures such as mask-wearing, social distancing, hand-washing and testing.
WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus says nearly 16 million cases have now been reported to the UN health agency, with more than 640,000 deaths worldwide.
Only with strict adherence to health measures, from wearing masks to avoiding crowds, would the world manage to beat it, Tedros added at a virtual news briefing in Geneva.
Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus insisted WHO is focusing on “saving lives” as he lashed out Thursday at the comments British media have reported that Pompeo made at a closed-door event earlier this week in London.
'Let me be blunt, too many countries are headed in the wrong direction, the virus remains public enemy number one,' Director General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus told a virtual briefing from WHO headquarters in Geneva.
Deaths from the virus have been rising in the U.S., especially in the South and West, though they are still well below the numbers reached in April, according to a recent Associated Press analysis of data from Johns Hopkins University.
Former New Zealand Prime Minister Helen Clark and former Liberian President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf have agreed to head the panel and chose its members, WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus told a virtual meeting with representatives of WHO's 194 member states, which was webcast.
World Health Organization's Director General also dismissed complaints from countries complaining that contact tracing is too difficult to implement as a control strategy for the COVID-19 pandemic as “lame”.
Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus also warned that the pandemic was accelerating.
"Almost half of the cases reported were from the Americas," Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus told in a virtual briefing.
A pandemic risk assessment by the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control also predicted a moderate pick-up in infection rates in the coming weeks, although it said transmission has passed its peak in most European countries.
The WHO Foundation is being created as an independent grant-making entity that will support the organisation's efforts to address the most pressing global health challenges by raising new funding from "non-traditional sources".
Tedros alluded to the so-called Spanish flu in 1918 as a reference for the coronavirus outbreak.
Ghebreyesus said the presence of embedded US government secondees working at the WHO headquarters in Geneva "means there is nothing hidden from the US, from day one", adding: "There is no secret in WHO".
WHO Director General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said there had been a "welcome slowing" of epidemics in some European countries - Italy, Germany, Spain and France - but there had been an "alarming acceleration" elsewhere including community transmission in 16 countries of Africa.
US President Trump has fired a fresh salvo at the World Health Organization, accusing its chief of siding with China and "politicising" the coronavirus pandemic.
"We are close to every nation, we are colour-blind," Tedros told a virtual news briefing on Wednesday
WHO director-general told a virtual news conference, insisting "we will follow all the rules to test any vaccine or therapeutics all over the world whether it is in Europe, Africa or wherever.