Covid-19: Coronavirus pandemic long way from over, warns WHO chief

There have been now seven consecutive weeks of increasing Covid-19 cases and four weeks of increasing deaths globally, Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, director-general of the World Health Organization, said on Monday adding that the coronavirus pandemic is 'long from over'.

"In January and February, the world saw six consecutive weeks of declining cases. We have now seen seven consecutive weeks of increasing cases, and four weeks of increasing deaths. Last week was the fourth-highest number of cases in a single week so far," Tedros said during the briefing.

The WHO chief noted that several countries in Asia and the Middle East have seen large increases in cases. This is despite the fact that more than 780 million doses of vaccine have now been administered globally, he said.

He again emphasied the public health measures of wearing masks, maintaining social distancing, testing, contact tracing, tracking and isolation.

"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. 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," he said.

He added, "But confusion, complacency and inconsistency in public health measures and their application are driving transmission and costing lives."

While citing "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, Tedros said that the global body "does not warrant endless lockdowns".

He said, "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 totally avoidable," the chief added.

Tedros stated that the coronavirus pandemic is a long way from over. However, he said that the world has many reasons for optimism.

"This pandemic is a long way from over. But we have many reasons for optimism... The decline in cases and deaths during the first two months of the year shows that this virus and its variants can be stopped. With a concerted effort to apply public health measures alongside equitable vaccination, we could bring this pandemic under control in a matter of months," he said.

The death toll from the coronavirus infection in the world topped 2.94 million, almost 136.3 million cases of infection were detected, according to the US-based Johns Hopkins University.


(Only the headline and picture of this report may have been reworked by the Business Standard staff; the rest of the content is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)


Dear Reader,


Business Standard has always strived hard to provide up-to-date information and commentary on developments that are of interest to you and have wider political and economic implications for the country and the world. Your encouragement and constant feedback on how to improve our offering have only made our resolve and commitment to these ideals stronger. Even during these difficult times arising out of Covid-19, we continue to remain committed to keeping you informed and updated with credible news, authoritative views and incisive commentary on topical issues of relevance.

We, however, have a request.

As we battle the economic impact of the pandemic, we need your support even more, so that we can continue to offer you more quality content. Our subscription model has seen an encouraging response from many of you, who have subscribed to our online content. More subscription to our online content can only help us achieve the goals of offering you even better and more relevant content. We believe in free, fair and credible journalism. Your support through more subscriptions can help us practise the journalism to which we are committed.

Support quality journalism and subscribe to Business Standard.

Digital Editor

Business Standard is now on Telegram.
For insightful reports and views on business, markets, politics and other issues, subscribe to our official Telegram channel