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‘The pandemic will not end’, says WHO

By Yashasvini on Jan 19, 2022 | 04:39 AM IST

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• WHO dismissed the rumours that suggested that omicron is the last variant

• WHO warned against relaxing public health measures and stressed the need to  strengthen them to control the spread of infection

The World Health Organization (WHO), on Tuesday, said the pandemic will not end as high levels of infection around the world would likely lead to new variants as the virus mutates.

During a COVID-19 update in Geneva, WHO’s Covid-19 technical lead, Maria Van Kerkhove, dismissed the rumours that suggested that Omicron is the last variant. “That is not the case because this virus is circulating at a very intense level around the world,” she said.

Also Read: FDA official says that ‘most people are going to get COVID’

New infections have increased by 20% globally over the past week with nearly 19 million total cases reported during that period, according to the WHO. However, Van Kerkhove said new infections are likely far higher than what is reported to the WHO.

Van Kerkhove warned against relaxing public health measures, such as masks and physical distancing. She called on governments to instead strengthen them to control the spread of infection and head off future waves of infection as new variants emerge.

In a recent media briefing, WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said infections in some countries may have already peaked, but no country is out of the woods yet as many remain unvaccinated which puts them at higher risk.

Vaccines may be less effective at preventing infection and transmission of Omicron than they were for previous variants, but they still are exceptionally good at preventing serious disease and death,” Tedros said, adding that this is also key in preventing hospitals from getting overwhelmed.

The WHO has repeatedly warned unequal distribution of vaccines has led to low immunization rates in developing countries, leaving the world vulnerable to the emergence of new variants. The WHO had set a target for every country to vaccinate 40% of its population by the end of 2021. However, 92 countries did not achieve that goal, according to the WHO.

Read more: WHO warns against treating Omicron lightly, expects severe cases

Inputs from CNBC

Picture Credits: The Guardian

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