WHO’s Tedros Says Conditions Globally Are Ideal For More Covid Variants To Emerge

The conditions are just right for the Covid-19 coronavirus to mutate into new versions, and it’s dangerous to think the pandemic is nearing its end, according to the WHO’s senior official.

Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus told the WHO’s executive board that since the omicron form was discovered just nine weeks ago, moreover 80 million Covid instances had been reported to the WHO, more than in the entire year of 2020.

According to Tedros, 100 instances were reported to the WHO every three seconds last week, and one person died from the infection every 12 seconds.

While the number of cases has increased, Tedros remarked that the “explosion” in cases has not been matched by an increase in deaths, despite the fact that deaths have increased in all regions, particularly in Africa, where nations are struggling to acquire vaccines.

“It is dangerous to assume that omicron will be the last variant or that we’re in the endgame,” Tedros warned. “On the contrary, globally the conditions are ideal for more variants to emerge. To change the course of the pandemic, we must change the conditions that are driving it.”

He added that the world cannot “gamble on a virus whose evolution we cannot control or predict.”

Even while the spread of omicron cases was slowing in certain countries, another top WHO official cautioned last week that high infection rates around the world will likely lead to new varieties by allowing the virus to mutate.

Tedros, on the other hand, was optimistic that the pandemic may reach a tipping point in 2022 if the necessary steps were taken.

Tedros acknowledged that people were tired of the pandemic and that many governments were “walking a tightrope” to try to combine infection control with what was acceptable to their citizens.

But he added: “If countries use all of [the WHO’s] strategies and tools in a comprehensive way, we can end the acute phase of the pandemic this year — we can end Covid-19 as a global health emergency, and we can do it this year,” he said.

These initiatives included meeting the World Health Organization’s goal of vaccination 70% of the world’s population, improving diagnostic capacities, and guaranteeing fair access to oxygen and antiviral Covid treatments.

Michael Ryan, executive director of the WHO Health Emergencies Programme, said last week at the World Economic Forum’s virtual Davos Agenda event that society had a chance to end the Covid emergency in 2022 if longstanding inequities — such as fair access to vaccines and health care — were addressed.

Tedros delivered his address to the WHO’s executive board on Monday, following a press conference with Svenja Schulze, Germany’s minister for economic cooperation and development.

Tedros complimented Germany, the WHO’s largest donor, for pursuing global public health with “solidarity and multilateralism” during the summit.

“These qualities are more important than ever because the Covid-19 pandemic is now entering its third year and we are at a critical juncture,” Tedros told reporters.

“We have the tools to end the acute phase of this pandemic. But we must use them equitably and wisely.”

(Adapted from Business-Standard.com)

Categories: Geopolitics, Regulations & Legal, Strategy, Sustainability, Uncategorized

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