WHO Director General_COVID19_press conference 01_02_2022-cabecera

COVID-19 far from defeated.- As the virus mutates, vaccines may need to evolve, WHO Director General warns

“We’re concerned that a narrative has taken hold in some countries that because of vaccines, and because of Omicron’s high transmissibility and lower severity, preventing transmission is no longer possible, and no longer necessary.
Nothing could be further from the truth.
More transmission means more deaths. We are not calling for any country to return to so-called lockdown. But we are calling on all countries to protect their people using every tool in the toolkit, not vaccines alone.
It’s premature for any country either to surrender, or to declare victory,” World Health Organisation Director General, Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, repeated today.

Despite WHO warnings, there are some countries in Europe currently removing the meassures to avoid contagion such as compulsory use of mask, social distancing, quarantines, etc. For example the Government of Denmark declared officially today the end of the COVID-19 pandemic in the country and Austria puts all its trust in vaccination. The government of this country has declared vaccination compulsory but waived other meassures to avoid contagions.

Dr. Abhanom Ghebreyesus added to his remarks on the possible need for new vaccines and information on the increase in deaths experienced last weekend that WHO published a new report on the burden of medical waste from the pandemic threatening human and environmental health, another longstanding problem specially exacervated by the COVID-19 pandemic.

He also informed thet Member States asked WHO to develop a set of proposals on strengthening the global health architecture for emergency preparedness, response and resilience, to present to the World Health Assembly in May.

Next May WHO will decide who will elect its new Director General, Dr Tedros Abhanom is well positioned to be reelected for a second term.

As the virus evolves vaccines may need to evolve as well

“This virus is dangerous, and it continues to evolve before our very eyes. WHO is currently tracking four sub-lineages of the Omicron variant of concern, including BA.2.
This virus will continue to evolve, which is why we call on countries to continue testing, surveillance and sequencing. We can’t fight this virus if we don’t know what it’s doing.
And we must continue to work to ensure all people have access to vaccines”,Dr Abhanom Ghebreyesus said.

WHO calls for equitable access to future COVID-19 vaccines in Africa_1600 pix
WHO calls for equitable access to future COVID-19 vaccines in Africa and launches COVAX initiative. © UN WHO.

“At the same time, it’s also clear that as this virus evolves, so vaccines may need to evolve.
Variants of SARS-CoV-2 may continue to escape neutralizing antibodies induced by vaccines against prior variants.
In addition, the reservoir of beta coronaviruses is large, and new crossovers to humans is likely.
If we prepare now, the time required for large scale vaccine manufacture will be reduced and lives will be saved,” WHO Director General added.

Worrying new increase in deaths in most regions of the world after two years the pandemic was declared

“This past Sunday also marked two years since I declared a public health emergency of international concern – the highest level of alarm under international law – over the spread of COVID-19.
At the time, there were fewer than 100 cases and no deaths reported outside China.

Two years later, more than 370 million cases have been reported, and more than 5.6 million deaths, and we know these numbers are an underestimate.
Since Omicron was first identified just 10 weeks ago, almost 90 million cases have been reported to WHO – more than were reported in the whole of 2020.
We are now starting to see a very worrying increase in deaths, in most regions of the world,” Dr. Tedros Abhanom remarked.

update on deaths-WHO_01_02_2022

Following the data from the Update report on COVID-19 incidence worldwide published by WHO today, globally, during the week of 24 to 30 January 2022, the number of new COVID-19 cases remained similar to that reported during the previous week, while the number of new deaths increased by 9%. Across the six WHO regions, over 22 million new cases and over 59 000 new deaths were reported. As of 30 January 2022, over 370 million confirmed cases and over 5.6 million deaths have been reported globally.

update on deaths-WHO_01_02_2022_table

At the Regional level, increases in the number of new cases were reported by the Western Pacific (37%) the Eastern Mediterranean (24%) and the European (7%) regions, while a decrease was reported by the Region of the Americas (20%) and the South-East Asia Region (8%). The number of new cases reported in the African Region remained similar to the previous week. The number of new weekly deaths continued to increase in the South-East Asia Region (41%), the Eastern Mediterranean Region (32%) and the Region of the Americas (16%), while the African Region reported a decrease of 7%. The incidence of deaths remained similar to the previous week in the European and the Western Pacific regions.

VOC circulation_COVID-19_update 01_02_2022

The report includes as well an update on the geographic distribution of circulating SARS-CoV-2 variants of concern (VOCs). To download the report click on the link provide at the end of this post.

Image over the headline.- Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesu (WHO Director General) durong the press conference held today. caption of the video provided by WHO to the press.© WHO. caption taken by Eastwind.

Related Eastwind links:

Buried under tones of COVID-19 medical waste, WHO urges to enhance clinical trash management systems around the world

COVID-19.- World Health Organisation discards endemic desease consideration and warns more variants can arise

Related external links:

To read the update report on COVID-19 incidence worldwide, click here

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