June 17, 2024

WHO chief says new COVID-19 cases and deaths declining in Europe and the Americas but remain too high

WHO Director-General, Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus addresses the 74th World Health Assembly. During the Seventy-fourth World Health Assembly (WHA), a series of Strategic Briefings were held virtually. During these sessions, WHA delegates, experts from WHO, partner agencies, and civil society will discuss current priorities and next solutions on these vital issues for global public health. 24 May 2021 focussed on: Ending this pandemic, preventing the next: building together a healthier, safer and fairer world.

New cases of COVID-19 and deaths are declining in Europe and the Americas but they still remain too high with more than 5.4 million reported infections and almost 90,000 deaths last week, the World Health Organization Director-General Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said during Wednesday’s press conference.

Dr. Ghebreyesus asserted that over the past year, many countries around the world have relaxed regulations and social measures too quickly due to a decline in cases and deaths, and that many of those countries “let down their guard only for those hard-won gains to be lost.”

Meanwhile, cases and deaths are rapidly increasing in the South-East Asia region with India being hit particularly hard recording more than 400,000 daily new cases on May 6.

“Today the WHO Foundation is launching the Together For India appeal to raise funds to support WHO’s work in India including the purchase of oxygen, personal protective equipment and medicines,” said Dr. Ghebreyesus.

The director-general explained that addressing the global imbalance in access to vaccines is an essential part of the solution.

“High and upper-middle-income countries represent 53% of the world’s population but have received 83% of the world’s vaccines. By contrast low and lower-middle-income countries account for 47% of the world’s population but have received just 17% of the world’s vaccines,” he said.

His message to world leaders is to use every tool in prevention and treatment to drive down transmissions even in countries reporting downward trends.

In addressing the lack of vaccinations for some regions, he urged countries to develop and implement comprehensive plans based on the ten pillars of WHO’s strategic preparedness and response plan.

“How quickly we end the pandemic and how many sisters and brothers we lose along the way depends on how quickly and how fairly we vaccinate a significant proportion of the global population and how consistently we all follow proven public health measures,” said Dr. Ghebreyesus.

According to the director-general, the world is still in a perilous situation in regard to Covid-19.

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