BERLIN ( Associated Press) — The COVID-19 pandemic is “certainly not over,” the head of the World Health Organization warned Sunday, despite a drop in cases compared to those during the pandemic-driven wave. omicron variant. He told governments that “we let our guard down at our own risk.”
The director-general of the UN health agency, Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, told officials gathered in Geneva for the opening of the WHO annual meeting that “declining testing and sequencing means we are blinding ourselves to developments.” of the virus”. He also pointed out that nearly 1 billion people in low-income countries have yet to be vaccinated.
In a weekly global situation report on Thursday, the WHO said the number of new COVID-19 cases appeared to have stabilized after weeks of decline since late March, while the total number of weekly deaths fell.
Although progress has been made, with 60% of the world’s population vaccinated, “it’s not over anywhere until it’s over everywhere,” Tedros said.
“Reported cases are rising in nearly 70 countries across all regions, and this in a world where testing rates have plummeted,” he added.
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% of their population.
Although the supply of vaccines in the world has improved, in some countries there is “insufficient political commitment to deploy the vaccines”, and in others there are gaps in “operational or financial capacity”, he explained.
“In all of them, we see vaccine hesitancy being driven by misinformation,” Tedros said. “The pandemic will not magically go away, but we can end it.”
Tedros is expected to be appointed to a second five-year term this week at the World Health Assembly, the annual meeting of WHO’s member countries.