December 29, 2021 – 21:33
The head of the World Health Organization, Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, said on Wednesday that he was concerned that the Omicron and Delta variants of the coronavirus, together, could produce “tsunami” cases, but he added that there was still hope that the pandemic would end in 2022. .
Two years after the outbreak of the coronavirus, top WHO officials have said it is still too early to take for granted the first studies suggesting that the Omicron variant causes milder disease.
The Omicron variant was identified in November in South Africa and has since become the dominant variant in the United States and several European countries.
After 92 of the 194 WHO member states failed to vaccinate 40 percent of their population by the end of this year, the WHO chief called on everyone to aim to vaccinate 70 percent of the population. population by early July 2022.
According to WHO data, the number of new cases of COVID-19 in the world increased by 11 percent last week, with almost 4.99 million new infections reported in the period December 20-26. New cases in Europe increased by 3 percent, while in America by 39 percent. Also, in Africa there was an increase of new cases of 7 percent.
France, meanwhile, on December 29 recorded a record number of cases of 208 thousand infections. This is the highest figure any European country has recorded.
“I am very concerned because Omicroni is more transmissible and is circulating at the same time as the Delta variant and is leading to a tsunami of cases,” Tedros told an online news conference. He said the increase in cases was creating “great pressure on health workers and health systems that are on the verge of collapse”.
Tedros reiterated his view that “ending health inequality” is key to ending the pandemic. He said that the failure to vaccinate 40 percent of the population by WHO member states “is not only a shame, but it costs lives and offers the virus the opportunity to circulate freely and mutate.”
Many states have failed to vaccinate large numbers of citizens due to a lack of vaccines, Tedros said. However, he said: “I continue to be optimistic that this will be the year (2022) that we can not only end the pandemic, but also pave the way for a stronger health system.” / REL