World Health Organisation (WHO) chief says that people around the world are “sick and tired” of the virus and wanted the pandemic to be over but this could not happen until more people in more countries were vaccinated.
“The threat is not over anywhere until it’s over everywhere,” WHO director-general Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said yesterday.
“Anyone who thinks the pandemic is over because it’s over where they live, is living in a fool’s paradise.”
Rounding on wealthier nations, Dr Ghebreyesus said the world had not made the best use of the vaccines that had been developed, with 75 per cent of shots administered in just 10 countries.
“In low-income countries, only one per cent of people have received one dose, compared with more than half the population in high-income countries,” he said. – Al Jazeera
Vaccines had been “concentrated in the hands and arms of the lucky few” he said, adding that the failure to share vaccines, tests and treatments was increasing a two-track pandemic that was not only a “moral outrage” but risked heightening the emergence of new, perhaps more deadly, variants of the coronavirus.
“The tragedy of this pandemic is that it could have been under control by now, if vaccines had been allocated more equitably,” he said, adding that pharmaceutical companies should put profits and patents second in order to ensure wider access to vaccines.
The WHO, International Monetary Fund, World Bank and the World Trade Organization are supporting a global push to vaccinate at least 10 percent of the population of every country by September, at least 40 percent by the end of this year, and 70 percent by the middle of 2022.
Ghebreyesus also reiterated the importance of public health measures beyond vaccines – including testing, contact tracing, and quarantine – to control the spread of the virus.
Many of the measures form part of the rules included in the Olympics’ Playbook, which are supposed to help keep athletes, officials and media safe while they are in Japan and minimise the risk from coronavirus. Most events will be held in empty venues.
The WHO chief said the ” mark of success” was not zero cases but that cases were identified, isolated, traced and cared for.
Some 79 cases have been reported in connection with the event so far, according to official figures, with the opening ceremony due to take place on Friday.
“In the 125-year history of the modern games, they have been held in the shadow of war, economic crisis and geopolitical turmoil. But never before have they been organised in the shadow of a pandemic,” he said. “And although COVID-19 might have postponed the games, it has not defeated them.”