End of coronavirus pandemic is in sight, WHO chief says

  • Comment was the most optimistic from the UN health agency since it declared an international emergency over Covid-19 two years ago
  • Covid deaths last week were the lowest since March 2020, the WHO reported, though it warned of future virus waves
Reuters |

Latest Articles

Play to Thrive project promotes youth mental health through football

Covid XBB variant vaccine’s first batch arrives in Hong Kong

Hong Kong gets first full-time college for adult prisoners

American company eyes moon landing 50 years after last Apollo mission

Spotify Wrapped’s deep dive into your 2023 listening habits is here

A woman wearing a face mask walks by a medical worker preparing to administer Covid-19 tests at a coronavirus testing site in Beijing. Photo: AP

The world has never been in a better position to end the coronavirus pandemic, the head of the World Health Organization said on Wednesday, urging nations to keep up their efforts against the virus that has killed over 6 million people.

“We are not there yet. But the end is in sight,” WHO Director General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus told reporters at a virtual press conference.

The comment was the most optimistic from the UN agency since it declared Covid-19 an international emergency and started describing the virus as a pandemic in March 2020.

Hong Kong reinfections ‘a small proportion’ of total and mostly milder

The virus, which emerged in China in late 2019, has killed nearly 6.5 million people and infected 606 million, devastating global economies and overwhelming healthcare systems.

The roll-out of vaccines and therapies has helped to stem the severity of disease. Deaths from Covid-19 last week were the lowest since March 2020, the UN agency reported.

Still, countries need to take a hard look at their policies and strengthen them for Covid-19 and future viruses, Tedros said. He also urged nations to vaccinate 100 per cent of their high-risk groups and keep testing for the virus.

Vaccines, such as the BioNTech/Pfizer jab, have helped fight the virus. Photo: DPA

The WHO warned of the possibility of future waves of the virus and said countries need to maintain adequate supplies of medical equipment and healthcare workers.

“We expect there to be future waves of infections, potentially at different time points throughout the world caused by different subvariants of Omicron or even different variants of concern,” said WHO’s senior epidemiologist Maria Van Kerkhove.

10.5 million children orphaned or lost a primary carer due to Covid, study finds

Monkeypox cases, too, were on a downtrend but Tedros urged countries to keep up the fight.

WHO officials said last month that it is possible to eliminate the monkeypox outbreak in Europe by stepping up vaccination and testing.

“As with Covid-19, this is not the time to relax or let down our guard.”

Sign up for the YP Teachers Newsletter
Get updates for teachers sent directly to your inbox
By registering, you agree to our T&C and Privacy Policy