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Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, Director General of the World Health Organisation (WHO)

COVID-19 Pandemic ‘Nowhere Near Over’ – WHO

Fresh surges of Covid infections show the pandemic is nowhere near over, the World Health Organization’s chief lamented Tuesday, warning that the virus is running free.

Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said he was worried that case numbers were shooting up, putting more strain on health systems and workers.

The number of Covid cases reported to the WHO increased 30 percent in the past two weeks, driven by sub-variants of the Omicron strain and the lifting of control measures.

“New waves of the virus demonstrate again that Covid-19 is nowhere near over. As the virus pushes at us, we must push back,” he insisted.

He told a news conference that as transmission increases, governments must also deploy tried-and-tested measures like mask-wearing and improving ventilation.

“Sub-variants of Omicron, like BA.4 and BA.5, continue to drive waves of cases, hospitalisation, and death around the world,” Tedros said.


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“Surveillance has reduced significantly — including testing and sequencing — making it increasingly difficult to assess the impact of variants on transmission, disease characteristics, and the effectiveness of counter-measures.”

Furthermore, tests, treatments and vaccines are not being deployed effectively.

“The virus is running freely and countries are not effectively managing the disease burden based on their capacity,” he said, both in terms of hospitalisation of acute cases and the expanding number of people with Long Covid.

The WHO’s Covid-19 emergency committee met Friday via video-conference and determined the pandemic remains a Public Health Emergency of International Concern — the highest alarm the WHO can sound.

WHO emergencies director Michael Ryan told the meeting recent changes in testing policies were hindering the detection of cases and the monitoring of virus evolution.

The committee stressed the need to reduce transmission as the implications of a pandemic caused by a new respiratory virus would not be fully understood, the WHO said in a statement Monday.

The group voiced concern over steep reductions in testing, resulting in reduced surveillance and genomic sequencing.