End of COVID in sight: WHO chief

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GENEVA — The end of the COVID-19 pandemic is in sight, World Health Organization (WHO) Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said on Wednesday.

“We are not there yet. But the end is in sight,” Ghebreyesus said at a virtual press conference. “We have never been in a better position to end the pandemic,” the WHO chief said.

Ghebreyesus warned that the world should “take this opportunity” before the pandemic once again increases in severity.

“If we don’t take this opportunity now, we run the risk of more variants, more deaths, more disruption, and more uncertainty.”

To this end, the WHO published six policy briefs aimed at controlling the spread of the virus.

In the briefs, the organization recommended that countries vaccinate 100% of people among at-risk groups, including health workers and the elderly.

The WHO also urged countries to keep up testing and sequencing for the virus. It said that countries need to maintain adequate supplies of medical equipment in the face of future waves of infections.

Reported cases in the week ending on September 4 were the lowest since March 2020, or 12% less than the previous week.

Despite the drop in reported cases, the WHO has urged the world not to “let down [its] guard” regarding monkeypox and COVID-19. The organization warned that the virus was still “circulating” and that most cases are likely not reported.

“We feel that far more cases are actually circulating than are being reported to us,” WHO technical lead on COVID-19, Maria Van Kerkhove, said. She added that the virus “is circulating at a very intense level around the world at the present time.” — Agencies




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