The Director-General, World Health Organisation (WHO), Dr. Tedros Ghebreyesus, has warned that COVID-19 is not over in spite of reports that COVID-19 cases and deaths have declined significantly.
On Sunday, May 22, in Geneva, Switzerland Ghebreyesus revealed this at the opening of the World Health Assembly.
World Health Assembly is the decision-making body of WHO comprised of representatives of 194 countries.
According to the reports, it was the first time since 2019 that the Assembly could take place in person, he asked ministers where the world stood two years into the most severe health crisis in a century.
Dr. Tedros told health ministers that it was not time to lower the guard.
He said, “So, is COVID-19 over? No, it’s most certainly not over. I know that’s not the message you want to hear, and it’s definitely not the message I want to deliver.”
He added that although in many countries all restrictions had been lifted and life looks much like it did before the pandemic, reported cases are increasing in almost 70 countries in all regions because testing rates have plummeted.”
Ghebreyesus warned that reported deaths are also rising in Africa, the continent with the lowest vaccination coverage.
“This virus has surprised us at every turn – a storm that has torn through communities again and again, and we still can’t predict its path, or its intensity,”he stated.
While agreeing that there is progress with 60 per cent of the world’s population already vaccinated, he reminded that almost one billion people in lower-income countries remain unvaccinated.
“It’s not over anywhere until it’s over everywhere… Only 57 countries have vaccinated 70 per cent of their population – almost all of them high-income countries,” he noted.