Covid pandemic can be brought under control in a matter of months, says WHO chief

WHO chief Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus
WHO chief Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus AP - Salvatore Di Nolfi

The World Health Organisation chief Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus has said that the global Covid-19 pandemic can be brought under control in a matter of months but only "if the tools we have are applied consistently and equitably.”


Speaking at a press conference, Ghebreyesus said that “infections and hospitalisations among people aged 25 to 59 are increasing at an alarming rate, possibly as a result of highly transmissible variants and increased social mixing among younger adults.”

He also said that new cases of Covid-19 had increased for the eighth week in a row with more than 5.2 million cases which was the most in a single week so far. 

"Death rose for the fifth straight week and more than 3 million deaths have now been reported to WHO. It took nine months to reach 1 million deaths; four months to reach 2 million, and three months to reach 3 million deaths.”

Climate change activist Greta Thunberg, who was a part of the virtual briefing, said that it was unethical that rich countries were prioritising their younger citizens for vaccination ahead of vulnerable groups in developing countries.

Thunberg said that whereas one in four people in high-income countries had now been vaccinated against Covid-19, only one in more than 500 people in poorer countries had received a shot.

“Vaccine nationalism is what is running the vaccine distribution,” she said.

“The only morally right thing to do is to prioritise the people who are most vulnerable, whether they live in a high income or a low income country.”

Thunberg also drew a direct link between the pandemic and the environmental destruction that she said made it much easier for dangerous viruses to leap from animal populations to humans.

“Science shows we will experience more frequent, devastating pandemics unless we drastically change our ways and the ways we treat nature ... We are creating ideal conditions for diseases to spill over from one animal to another and to us,” she said.

Meanwhile, Thunberg will donate 100,000 Euros to support more equitable distribution of vaccines the world over.

(with Reuters)

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