The COVID-19 pandemic is “far from over,” World Health Organization (WHO) director Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus announced Tuesday at a press conference in Geneva.
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“As the virus breaks through, we need to push it back,” Dr. Tedros said, adding, “The COVID-19 pandemic is far from over.”
“As hospitalizations and transmission of COVID-19 increase, governments must deploy tried and tested measures like mask-wearing, improved ventilation, and testing and treatment protocols,” he added.
The number of Covid cases worldwide has jumped 30% in the past two weeks - a rise mainly fueled by Omicron's BA.4 and BA.5 subvariants, said Chief Emergency Officer Dr Michael Ryan WHO, during the press conference.
As of July 11, the WHO has identified more than 552.5 million confirmed cases of COVID-19 worldwide, including 232.3 million in Europe, for more than 6.3 million deaths since the start of the pandemic.
According to Our World in Data, as of the same date, 61.3% of the world's population has a complete vaccination schedule, while 66.8% has received at least one dose of vaccine.
Dr. Ryan also pointed to the lifting of health and social distancing measures, as well as the drop in screenings, which complicate the monitoring of the pandemic.
“The virus continues to circulate freely, and states are not distributing the burden of the disease effectively according to their capacities, both for hospitalizations for severe cases and the growing number of people in post-Covid state, often referred to as Covid long,” Dr Tedros added.
The two WHO leaders spoke on the sidelines of the WHO's release of the results of the latest COVID-19 Emergency Committee meeting, which was held last Friday.
The UN agency has thus announced that the COVID-19 pandemic will be maintained at the rank of "public health emergency of international concern", the organization's highest level of alert, following a unanimous decision by the Committee. .
The Committee points to the decline in screening and genomic sequencing, which make it "increasingly difficult" to assess the impact of COVID-19 variants, and underlines the "inadequacy of current surveillance" of the pandemic .
The Committee notes in particular the lack of implementation of appropriate public health measures in the regions affected by a resurgence of cases.
The European branch of the health agency, for its part, on Tuesday recommended a second booster dose of the vaccine against COVID-19 for vulnerable people, while nearly 7 million cases have been recorded on the continent over the past of the last 7 days.