GENEVA, July 17 (CGTN) - The World Health Organization Director-General Tedros Adhanom on Friday called upon the world not to focus entirely on COVID-19 at the expense of other crises battering the world.

"Many countries, especially in Africa and the Middle East, are still reeling from years of conflict and other humanitarian crises. COVID-19 threatens to exacerbate many of these crises," he said in a media briefing on Friday.

Noting that the pandemic had affected over 200 million people globally, Tedros warned that up to 132 million people may go hungry in 2020 due to the impact lockdowns and restrictions imposed in efforts to curb the spread of COVID-19.

"The pandemic, and the restrictions put in place to suppress it, are taking a heavy toll on 220 million people in protracted emergencies," he said.

Since its outbreak, the pandemic has disrupted many aspects of life, including education, travel, agriculture and more.

Many countries around the world have projected slumps in their economies as the pandemic continues to batter their borders.

Governments have been forced to re-focus funds towards the fight against COVID-19, leaving other sectors ailing.

In his address n Friday, Tedros urgd countries to strengthen their health systems to better tackle any future crises.

"The pandemic is teaching us that health is not a luxury item; it's the foundation of social, economic and political stability," he said.