Covid-19 ‘far from over’: WHO

Margaret Harris

New Delhi: The World Health Organization (WHO) said that the end of the Covid-19 pandemic was a long way off, citing a rise in cases in its latest weekly data.

Asked by a journalist at a Geneva media briefing about the timing of the pandemic’s end, Margaret Harris, a WHO spokesperson, said it was far from over.  We are definitely in the middle of the pandemic,” she added.

After more than a month of decline, coronavirus cases have started to increase around the world last week, the WHO said, with lockdowns in Asia and China’s Jilin province battling to contain an outbreak.

The WHO said that a combination of factors was causing the increases, including the highly transmissible Omicron variant and its cousin the BA.2 sub-variant. It also stated that the lifting of public health and social measures is also behind the latest surge in Covid-19 cases.

It is notable that the UN health agency had previously said that the acute phase of the pandemic could end this year but it would depend on how quickly we meet its target to vaccinate 70% of the population in each country, among other factors.

Earlier on March 16, WHO Chief Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus had said that the increase is occurring despite reductions in testing in some countries, which means the cases we’re seeing are just the tip of the iceberg.

He had also called on all countries to remain vigilant and continue to vaccinate, test, sequence, provide early care for patients, and apply common-sense public health measures to protect health workers and the public.