WHO: pandemic’s end is not close despite drop in cases

Geneva, May 17 (EFE).- The end of the coronavirus pandemic is not near despite a downward trend in worldwide infection rates that continued for a second consecutive week, the head of the World Health Organization said on Monday.

“There is a huge disconnect growing where in some countries with the highest vaccination rates, there appears to be that a mindset that the pandemic is over, while others are experiencing huge waves of infections,” Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said during a press conference.

Last week, WHO recorded 4.8 million global cases, compared to 5.4 million the previous week. The organization reported a record of 5.7 million weekly infections in late April.

But the situation in a number of countries continues to be very concerning, Tedros said. “The pandemic is a long way far from over and it will not be over anywhere until it is over everywhere,” he added.

“Even in some places that have previous done very well at containing Covid-19 are seeing dramatic increases in cases, hospitalizations and deaths,” he continued.

Efforts to tackle the coronavirus face challenges including new variants, shortages of oxygen supply in some countries or in some cases the excessively rapid relaxation of preventive measures, Tedros said.

 “Even where cases have dropped, genetic sequencing is critical so that variants can be tracked and measures are not eased prematurely,” he added.

The WHO chief also called on vaccine developers to speed up donations to the organization’s COVAX program that provides developing countries with access to the inoculations.

COVAX has delivered 65 million doses to 140 countries, but at the current pace, it will be 190 million jabs behind schedule by the end of June end, he said.

“While we appreciate the work of AstraZeneca, who has been steadily increasing the speed and volume of their deliveries, we need other manufacturers to follow suit,” he said. EFE

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