The World Health Organization (WHO) said on Wednesday that the COVID-19 pandemic is changing but not over and warned that cases were rising in 110 countries.
“This pandemic is changing but it is not over. Our ability to track the #COVID19 virus is at risk as reporting and genomic sequences are dwindling which means it is harder to track oomicrons and analyze future emerging variants It is happening,” said WHO Director-General, Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus.
He further said, “Cases are rising in 110 countries in many places driven by COVID19, BA.4 and BA.5, leading to a 20 percent increase in total global cases and deaths in 3 out of 6 WHO regions.” . . even though the global figure has remained relatively stable.”
Briefing the media on COVID-19 and other global health issues, Ghebreyesus said the WHO had called on all countries to vaccinate at least 70 per cent of their population.
He further added that over 12 billion vaccines have been distributed globally in the last 18 months.
“On the other hand, millions of people in low-income countries remain unvaccinated, including millions of health workers and older people, which means they are more vulnerable to future waves of the virus,” the WHO chief said.
“Only 58 countries have achieved 70 percent of the target, with some saying that it is not possible for low-income countries to make it,” he said.
Ghebreyesus cited the example of Rwanda where the second dose vaccination rate is now above 65 percent and is still rising. The WHO chief underscored that it is important to keep the most at-risk groups up to date with vaccinations.
Earlier, DG Ghebreyesus said that although monkeypox is not currently a public health emergency of international concern, the emergency nature of the incident requires intensive response efforts.
Taking to Twitter, DG Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus wrote, “While the Emergency Committee did not advise that the #monkeypox outbreak represents a public health emergency of international concern, they acknowledged the emergency nature of the incident which required intense Response efforts are needed.”
“He advised that I should call him again quickly based on the evolving situation, which I will do,” he said.
The DG expressed concern over the continuous transmission of the virus, saying that children and pregnant women are at high risk of catching the infection.
WHO quoted DG Ghebreyesus as tweeting: “I am concerned about continued transmission as it would suggest the virus is establishing itself and that it may transfer to high-risk groups including children, immunocompromised and pregnant women. “
He further added that Nigeria has been battling a monkeypox outbreak since 2017. The country has reported more cases this year, which could mean it matches or exceeds previous peaks.
Monkeypox has now been identified in more than 50 countries and this trend is likely to continue.
(Except for the title, this story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is published from a syndicated feed.)