The end of the covid epidemic is ‘in sight’ – WHO head


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Sept 14 (Reuters) – The world was never in a better position to end the COVID-19 pandemic, the head of the World Health Organization said on Wednesday, his most optimistic outlook on the multi-year health crisis. Six million people.

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

It was a stark assessment by the United Nations, which declared a global emergency in January 2020 and began describing Covid-19 as a pandemic three months later.

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In the year By the end of 2019, the virus that broke out in China had killed nearly 6.5 million people and killed 606 million people, crippling global economies and straining health care systems.

Advances in vaccines and treatments have helped end deaths and hospitalizations, and the Omicron variant, released late last year, causes less severe disease. Last week, the death toll from Covid-19 was the lowest since March 2020, according to the United Nations.

Still on Wednesday, he again urged countries to remain vigilant and likened the pandemic to a marathon.

“It’s time to run hard and cross the line and reap the rewards of all our hard work.”

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

The World Health Organization said that countries should ensure adequate supply of medical equipment and health care workers.

Maria van Kerkhove, a senior epidemiologist at the World Health Organization, said: “We expect that there may be future waves of infection, which may be caused by different subtypes of Ometron or by different strains around the world.

With more than 1 million deaths this year alone, the epidemic continues to be a global emergency in most countries.

A spokesperson for the European Commission said: “The summer wave of COVID-19 driven by Omicron BA.4 and BA.5 shows that the epidemic is far from over as the virus continues to spread in Europe and beyond.

A World Health Organization spokeswoman said the next expert meeting will be held in October to decide whether the outbreak still represents a public health emergency of international concern.

International emergency

Dr Michael Head, a senior researcher in global health at the University of Southampton, said: “It is correct to say that most of the world is recovering from the pandemic response.”

Governments are now looking at how to better manage Covid as part of routine healthcare and surveillance, he said.

Europe, the United Kingdom and the United States have approved Omicron’s variant and vaccines targeting the original virus as countries prepare to launch winter booster campaigns.

In the United States, COVID-19 was declared a public health emergency in early January 2020, and since then this status has been renewed quarterly.

The US Department of Health is set to renew it again in mid-October for what policymakers expect will be the last time before it expires in January 2023.

US health officials say the epidemic is not over, but the new dual vaccines represent a major breakthrough in fighting the virus. They predict that a single annual vaccination, similar to the flu vaccine, should provide maximum protection and return the country to normalcy.

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Reporting by Manas Mishra, Khushi Mandowara in Bengaluru, Ahmed Abolenein in Washington and Jennifer Rigby in London; Edited by Shawnak Dasgupta, William McLean, Josephine Mason, Elaine Hardcastle.

Our standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.


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