The Director-General of the World Health Organisation, Dr Tedros Ghebreyesus, has raised concerns over increasing cases of deaths and confirmed cases of COVID-19 across the globe.
Ghebreyesus stated that even though more than 780 million doses of the COVID-19 vaccine have now been administered globally, the pandemic is “a long way from over” but it can be brought under control in months with proven public health measures.
The virus that started in central China’s Wuhan city in December 2019, has infected more than 136,500,400 people and killed over 2,944,500 people across the world.
Although the world experienced a decline in cases for six consecutive weeks In January and February, there has been an increase in cases in the last seven consecutive weeks and four weeks of increasing deaths.
“Last week was the fourth-highest number of cases in a single week so far.
“Several countries in Asia and the Middle East have seen large increases in cases.
“This is even though more than 780 million doses of vaccine have now been administered globally.
“Make no mistake, vaccines are a vital and powerful tool. But they are not the only tool. We say this day after day, week after week. And we will keep saying it”, The director-general said.
“Physical distancing works. Masks work. Hand hygiene works. Ventilation works. Surveillance, testing, contact tracing, isolation, supportive quarantine, and compassionate care – they all work to stop infections and save lives.”
Ghebreyesus voiced concern that confusion, complacency and inconsistency in public health measures and their application are driving transmission and costing lives.
He said it would take a consistent, coordinated, and comprehensive approach to stem the tide.
He added, “So many countries around the world have shown that this virus can be stopped and contained with proven public health measures and strong systems that respond rapidly and consistently.
“As a result, many of those countries have gained control over COVID-19, and their people are now able to enjoy sporting events, concerts, restaurants, and seeing their family and friends safely.
“WHO does not want endless lockdowns. The countries that have done best have taken a tailored, measured, agile and evidence-based combination of measures.
“We too want to see societies and economies reopening, and travel and trade resuming.
“But right now, intensive care units in many countries are overflowing and people are dying – and it is avoidable.
He cautioned that the disease is not flu, he said young, healthy people have died from the coronavirus.
And we still don’t fully understand the long-term consequences of infection for those who survive. Some people appear to be taking the approach that if they are relatively young, it doesn’t matter if they get COVID-19.
Ghebreyesus noted that currently, global manufacturing is insufficient to deliver quick, equitable vaccines and other essential health products.
He stressed the importance of investing in sustainable and secure domestic manufacturing capacity and national regulatory authorities, asserted that what can be done today, should be done today.