WHO: Other countries face same crisis as India

The World Health Organization (WHO) is warning of the risk of further devastating coronavirus outbreaks along the lines of India. Several other countries lacked the proper precautions, WHO Emergency Relief Coordinator Mike Ryan said yesterday in Geneva. “This virus has tremendous kinetic energy,” Ryan said. “It has massive infectious power, and we need to slow its spread.”

In some countries, the situation is already developing similarly to India, Ryan said, without naming names. WHO chief Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus later cited the tense situation in Brazil and Nepal. Other countries could soon face a similar emergency. Vaccines alone are not yet the sufficient answer, Ryan said, citing the far too small production and uneven distribution of vaccines around the world.

Only fraction of doses in poorest countries
According to WHO, 1.2 billion vaccine doses have been administered worldwide, but more than 80 percent of them in rich countries. Only a fraction, five million, went to the poorest countries.

Tedros appealed to rich countries to donate more vaccine doses. This was not an act of charity, he said, but in the interest of rich countries, because otherwise variants could develop elsewhere that could trigger new waves of infection globally.

Until there is enough vaccine, countries need to do what has worked, Ryan said. He pointed to South Africa, which has largely brought a dangerous variant of the virus under control. Contact between people in confined spaces, without hand hygiene, without masks, and possibly in poorly ventilated rooms, must be reduced, he said.

  • source: orf.at/picture: pixabay.com

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