Pandemic not over with almost 50,000 COVID-19 related deaths weekly –WHO

25 OCTOBER 2021

Lara Adejoro

The World Health Organisation says the rate at which countries are reporting COVID-19 death-related cases, the pandemic is far from being over.

The Director-General of WHO, Dr. Tedros Ghebreyesus said this in his address at the World Health Summit on Sunday.

According to him, the pandemic will end when the world chooses to end it.

“Twelve years since the first World Health Summit, we meet once again in the shadow of a pandemic. And we are faced once again with some very big questions: some of the same ones we were asking in 2009 that remain unanswered, and some new ones.

 “One of the questions I am asked most often is: when will the pandemic end? My answer is that the pandemic will end when the world chooses to end it. It’s in our hands. We have all the tools we need: effective public health tools and effective medical tools.

“But the world has not used those tools well. With almost 50 thousand deaths a week, the pandemic is far from over – and that’s just the reported deaths,” Ghebreyesus said.

The WHO chief noted that the target to vaccinate 40 percent of the population of every country by the end of this year is reachable if the countries and companies that control supply match their statements with actions.

“The barrier is not production. The barriers are politics and profit. It’s clear what needs to happen. The countries that have already reached the 40 percent target – including all G20 countries – must give their place in the vaccine delivery queue to COVAX and the African Vaccines Acquisition Trust, or AVAT; The G20 countries must fulfil their dose-sharing commitments immediately.

“Manufacturers must prioritize and fulfil their contracts with COVAX and AVAT as a matter of urgency, and be far more transparent about what is going where.

“And they must share know-how, technology, and licences, and waive intellectual property rights. We’re not asking for charity; we’re calling for a common-sense investment in the global recovery,” he said.

He urged countries to end the pandemic by pulling out all the stops to reach the target of vaccinating 40 percent of the population by the end of this year.

“The pandemic has demonstrated beyond doubt that health is not a luxury for the rich, or simply an outcome of development; it’s a fundamental human right, and the basis of social, economic, and political stability.

“There’s only one way to achieve these three things – and that’s together. No country can end the pandemic in isolation from the rest of the world. And no country can protect the health of its own people without working to protect the health of all people.

“It takes some tough negotiations and some tough decisions. But the reward is a world that is healthier, safer, and fairer for all of us,” he noted.

SOURCE: THE PUNCH

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