'Covid-19 is nowhere near over, as the virus pushes at us, we must push back': WHO
The sub-variants of Omicron, like BA.4 and BA.5, continue to drive waves of cases, hospitalisation and death around the world.
Published: 12th July 2022 08:27 PM | Last Updated: 12th July 2022 08:30 PM | A+A A-
New waves of the virus demonstrate again that Covid-19 is nowhere near over. As the virus pushes at us, we must push back, said the World Health Organisation (WHO)
Director-General of WHO, Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus on Tuesday said that the Emergency Committee on Covid-19 which met on Friday last week concluded that the virus remains a "Public Health Emergency of International Concern."
The Committee noted their concern about several interlinked challenges. First, sub-variants of Omicron, like BA.4 and BA.5, continue to drive waves of cases, hospitalisation and death around the world. Second, surveillance has reduced significantly – including testing and sequencing – making it increasingly difficult to assess the impact of variants on transmission, disease characteristics, and the effectiveness of counter-measures. Third, diagnostics, treatments and vaccines are not being deployed effectively.
The virus is running freely and countries are not effectively managing the disease burden based on their capacity, in terms of both hospitalisation for acute cases and the expanding number of people with post covid-19 condition - often referred to as long-covid.
Finally, there is a major disconnect in Covid-19 risk perception between scientific communities, political leaders and the general public.
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This is a dual challenge of communicating risk and building community trust in health tools and public health social measures like masking, distancing and ventilation.
The Committee has made a series of recommendations.
"I urge governments to regularly review and adjust their COVID-19 response plans based on the current epidemiology and also the potential for new variants to appear," Tedros said.
As transmission and hospitalisations rise, governments must also deploy tried and tested measures like masking, improved ventilation and test and treatment protocols, he added.