The World Health Organisation (WHO) has stated that COVID-19 cases are on the rise in 110 countries, driven by the BA.4 and BA.5 variants of the virus.
WHO Director-General, Dr Tedros Ghebreyesus disclosed this on Wednesday, June 29, at the agency’s headquarters in Geneva, noting that the variants amounting to a 20 per cent spike overall.
According to Ghebreyesus, the number of deaths, monitored by WHO across three of the six world regions has risen.
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He stressed in his weekly briefing to journalists that the global figure overall remains “relatively stable”, but nobody should be under any illusion, that the coronavirus is on the way out.
The WHO Chief said;
This pandemic is changing but it’s not over. We have made progress but it’s not over.
Only with concerted action by governments, international agencies and the private sector can we solve the converging challenges.
He warned that our ability to track the virus is under threat as reporting and genomic sequences were declining.
The optimistic mid-year deadline for all countries to vaccinate at least 70 per cent of their populations is looking unlikely, with the average rate in low-income countries, standing at 13 per cent.
On the bright side, in the past 18 months, more than 12 billion vaccines have been distributed around the world, and 75 percent of the world’s health workers and over-60s are now vaccinated.
Ghebreyesus said the influential Lancet medical journal, estimates that 20 million lives have been saved because of vaccines.
In 2021, it was the hoarding of vaccines by rich and manufacturing countries which proved to be the major barrier to access.
The WHO chief described the development as the wavering “political commitment to getting vaccines out to people – and challenges of disinformation”, which are thwarting the pace of inoculations at the national level.
He called for all at-risk groups, to be vaccinated and boosted, as soon as possible.
For the general population, it also makes sense to keep strengthening that wall of immunity, which helps lessen the severity of the disease and lowers the risk of long- or post-COVID condition.