The Director-General of the World Health Organization, Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, said on Tuesday (1) that it was “too early” to celebrate the victory over Covid-19 and to abandon efforts to halt transmission of the virus.
“We are concerned that the narrative has taken hold in some countries that due to vaccines and because of the high transmissibility of omicron and its low intensity, prevention of transmission is no longer feasible and no longer necessary. Nothing could be further from the truth,” the WHO Director warned.
Tedros noted that the virus will continue to evolve and that countries need to remain vigilant. “Keep on testing, watching and sequencing. We can’t fight this virus if we don’t know what it’s doing.”
The WHO Director highlighted that since omicron was first identified 10 weeks ago, nearly 90 million cases have been reported to the WHO, more than the entire year of 2020. And that we are now beginning to see a very worrying increase in deaths.
Adhanom warned that “more transmission means more deaths. We are not asking any country to return to lockdown, but we are asking countries to protect their citizens with all tools, not just vaccines.”
Countries have not reached the omicron peak
The World Health Organization has also warned that the wave of infection with the omicron variant has not yet reached its peak in many countries.
In response to a question about Denmark’s decision to lift all restrictions to contain the spread, technical chief Maria Van Kerkhove warned that many countries had not yet reached the peak of omicron cases and suggested easing measures slowly.
Emergencies chief Mike Ryan added that as countries go through different phases of the pandemic, one should not blindly follow the other. “If the doors open quickly, you have to be prepared to close them quickly as well,” he stressed.
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