‘Premature’ to declare victory over Covid-19, says WHO

‘Premature’ to declare victory over Covid-19, says WHO
Credit: Belga

The time has come “neither to surrender nor to declare victory” in the face of the coronavirus, said the Director-General of the World Health Organisation (WHO) Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus on Tuesday.

The WHO is concerned about the recent increase in deaths from Covid-19 in four regions of the world.

“We call on all countries to protect their citizens by using all tools” against the pandemic, not just the vaccine, Tedros told reporters during a press conference in Geneva.

In the past ten weeks, nearly 90 million cases of the new Omicron variant have been registered worldwide, more than in the first year of the coronavirus. There were more than 20 million in the last week.

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Tedros said he was concerned about claims in some countries that the infectiousness and low-risk nature of Omicron made the fight against the virus “impossible” and “no longer necessary” – a mistake, he said.

“More transmission means more deaths. We are not calling for any country to return to so-called lockdown. But we are calling on all countries to protect their people using every tool in the toolkit, not vaccines alone.”

This virus is dangerous, and it continues to evolve before our very eyes. he added. WHO is currently tracking four sub-lineages of the Omicron variant of concern, including BA.2.

Many countries “have not reached the peak of Omicron” and do not have sufficient vaccination rates, said WHO epidemiologist Dr Maria Van Kerkhove. She again called for caution, not to lift the restrictions all at once, as some countries, like Denmark, are beginning to do.

“Each country is in a different situation and it is important not to blindly follow your neighbour,” added WHO epidemiologist Dr Michael Ryan.

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