The statement by WHO director-general Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus can be deemed as the most optimistic since the pandemic first emerged in China in late 2019.
With the coronavirus pandemic (Covid-19) only a few months shy of entering its fourth year, the chief of World Health Organization (WHO) said on Wednesday that the world has never been in a better position to put an end to the ordeal. In this context, he urged countries to continue with their efforts to combat the virus that has so far taken the lives of more than six million individuals.
“We are not there yet. But the end is in sight,” WHO director-general Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus told reporters at a virtual press briefing.
The statement by the head of the United Nation’s health agency can be deemed as the most optimistic since the pandemic first emerged in China in late 2019. Ghebreyesus made the comment after revealing that fresh cases reported globally fell to the lowest level last week since March 2020.
“If we don’t take this opportunity now, we run the risk of more variants, more deaths, more disruption, and more uncertainty,” the WHO chief said at the briefing.
As per the WHO’s latest epidemiological report on Covid-19, the number of reported Covid-19 cases dropped by 28 per cent to 3.1 million during the week ending September 11, following a 12 per cent dip the week before, AFP reported.
The UN agency stressed that the rollout of vaccines and therapies have helped considerably to stem the severity of the infection.
Despite the good signs, the WHO cautioned against taking a back seat. It said that the falling number of cases may be deceptive since several countries have cut back on testing and may not be detecting the less serious ones.
“We feel that far more cases are actually circulating than are being reported to us,” Maria Van Kerkhove, the WHO technical lead on Covid said, cautioning that the virus “is circulating at a very intense level around the world at the present time”.
Van Kerkhove noted that going forward there lies a possibility of “future waves of infection, potentially at different time points throughout the world” emerging, caused by “different sub-variants of Omicron or even different variants of concern”.
She, however, added that the future waves of infection “do not need to translate into future waves of death”.
The UN health agency emphasised on vaccination and said that countries must invest in administering 100 per cent jabs to its most at-risk groups, including elderly and health workers, and remain vigilant with their testing and sequencing for the virus.
(With inputs from Reuters, AFP)