WHO chief: pandemic not over yet

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The World Health Organization (WHO) head has warned against rushing to declare the CoV pandemic over. There is a high vaccination rate in some countries combined with a lower risk of the omicron variant, Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said today at the Munich Security Conference. That feeds the dangerous narrative that the pandemic is over, he said.

“But that’s not true,” he said – 70,000 people a week are still dying from a preventable and treatable disease. According to him, eighty-three percent of Africa’s population has not even received an initial vaccine dose. He noted that many health systems are still groaning under the number of cases. The WHO director-general warned that conditions are ideal for more transmissible, dangerous variants to emerge.

But the pandemic can be ended as a global health emergency – the tools and know-how are available. In this context, Tedros renewed the WHO to raise $16 billion, mainly from rich countries, to target vaccines, tests, medicines, and masks in poorer countries.

Compared with the cost of another year of severe economic consequences, $16 billion is a very manageable amount, he said. Ending the pandemic, he said, must remain the primary focus.

  • sources: vienna.at/APA/picture: pixabay.com
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