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The COVID-19 pandemic is ’most certainly not over,’ WHO’s health chief says

Almost 1 billion people in lower-income countries still not vaccinated: UN agency

Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, director general of the World Health Organization, addresses delegates during the first day of the 75th World Health Assembly at the European headquarters of the United Nations in Geneva on Sunday.

Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, director general of the World Health Organization, addresses delegates during the first day of the 75th World Health Assembly at the European headquarters of the United Nations in Geneva on Sunday.

Photo: Reuters / DENIS BALIBOUSE

RCI

The COVID-19 pandemic is the head of the World Health Organization warned Sunday, despite a decline in reported cases since the peak of the Omicron wave. He told governments that « we lower our guard at our peril.« most certainly not over, » »

The United Nations health agency's director general, Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, told officials gathered in Geneva for the opening of the WHO's annual meeting that declining testing and sequencing means we are blinding ourselves to the evolution of the virus. He also noted that almost one billion people in lower-income countries still haven't been vaccinated.

In a weekly report issued Thursday on the global situation, WHO said the number of new COVID-19 cases appears to have stabilized after weeks of decline since late March, and the overall number of weekly deaths dropped.

While there has been progress, with 60 per cent of the world's population vaccinated, it's not over anywhere until it's over everywhere, Tedros said.

Reported cases are increasing in almost 70 countries in all regions — and this in a world in which testing rates have plummeted.

WATCH | Head of the World Health Organization on current state of COVID-19 pandemic:

COVID-19 pandemic not over 'until it’s over everywhere,' WHO head says

20 hours agoDuration1:54Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, the director general of the WHO, told officials gathered in Geneva for the opening of the agency's annual meeting that 'declining testing and sequencing means we are blinding ourselves to the evolution of the virus.'

Reported deaths are rising in Africa, the continent with the lowest vaccination coverage, he said, and only 57 countries — almost all of them wealthy — have vaccinated 70 per cent of their people.

While the world's vaccine supply has improved, there is insufficient political commitment to roll out vaccines in some countries, gaps in operational or financial capacity in others, he said.

In all, we see vaccine hesitancy driven by misinformation and disinformation, Tedros said. The pandemic will not magically disappear, but we can end it.

Tedros is expected to be appointed for a second five-year term this week at the World Health Assembly, the annual meeting of the WHO's member countries.

The Associated Press 

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