Global effort can end pandemic in 2022 - WHO

By Helen Adams
WHO chief Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus hopes to vaccinate 70% of the world by July, but warned 'No country is out of the woods' yet

The head of the World Health Organisation, Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, has said that the pandemic could end in 2022, but only through global cooperation.

 

5.4mn lives lost to Covid-19

WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus has praised the hard work undertaken over the past two years to defeat Covid-19, including: 

  • Administering over 8.5bn vaccine doses
  • Developing new treatments to lower mortality 
  • WHO’s emergency approval for 10 vaccines

 

By July 2022, Ghebreyesus aims for a global vaccination rate of 70%. 

Although 49% of the world is now fully vaccinated, in low income countries, just 8.5% have received one dose.

More than 289mn people have been infected with Covid-19 and over 5.4mn people have died, since the virus emerged in the winter of 2019, in Wuhan, China. 

Tedros has appealed for a continuation of the same practises from the past two years to help stop the virus: 

  • Wearing masks
  • Social distancing
  • Good hygiene (such as washing hands)

 

There is an opportunity to use the pandemic for good - WHO

“The end of the year marks the second anniversary of the COVID-19 pandemic, representing a poignant reminder of what we have achieved, have gained and have lost as a global community,” Tedros said. “No country is out of the woods from the pandemic but we have many new tools to prevent and treat COVID-19.

“The longer inequity continues, the higher the risks of the virus evolving in ways we can’t prevent or predict. If we end inequity, we end the pandemic, and end the global nightmare we have all lived through. And this is possible.

“As we enter the third year of this pandemic, I’m confident that this will be the year we end it, but only if we do it together.

“With all these learnings and capacities, the opportunity to turn this pandemic around for good is in our grasp.”

Once the pandemic is over - the world can focus on other healthcare challenges, such as rising obesity, substance abuse and mental health.

 

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