Tuesday, January 18, 2022

Pandemic ‘long way from over’ despite vaccination efforts, says WHO

WHO says there is a 'huge disconnect growing' as some countries are experiencing waves of infection while others with high vaccination rates think the pandemic is over.

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World Health Organization (WHO) director-general Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said on Monday that the Covid-19 pandemic is not over yet despite high vaccination rates and falling case numbers in some countries.

During a press conference from WHO’s Swiss headquarters, Tedros noted global cases and deaths had declined for the second consecutive week but also that some nations, such as India, are facing surges.

“There is a huge disconnect growing. In countries with the highest vaccination rates, there appears to be a mindset that the pandemic is over, while other countries are experiencing huge waves of infection,” he said.

“The situation in a number of countries continues to be very concerning. The pandemic is a long way from over, and it will not be over anywhere until it’s over everywhere.”

Tedros said people must adhere to public health measures such as wearing masks and physical distancing where cases are rising and said measures should not be eased prematurely where cases have fallen.

“WHO has been responding to the surge in cases in India and other hotspots,” he said. “However, demand is currently so high that WHO needs immediate funding in order to sustain its technical and operational support to all countries – especially the most affected – involved in the present wave.”

Meanwhile, Taiwan reported 335 new cases on Monday, setting a new record as vaccination rates remained low and residents were ordered to stay at home.

Taiwanese health authorities said the new cases were the result of local transmission. Only two cases were identified as overseas arrivals, Apple Daily in Taiwan reported.

On Monday, US President Joe Biden committed to send 20 million additional doses of the American-made Pfizer, Moderna and Johnson & Johnson vaccines to other countries that have supply shortages.

Since the start of the pandemic, 163,2 million people have been infected and nearly 3.4 million have died as a result of the virus while 1.47 million Covid-19 vaccine doses have been administered globally.

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