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End of Covid pandemic is ‘in sight’: WHO chief – Times of India

GENEVA: The world has by no means been in a greater place to finish the Covid-19 pandemic, the pinnacle of the World Health Organization mentioned on Wednesday, his most optimistic outlook but on the years-long well being disaster which has killed over six million individuals.
“We aren’t there but. However the finish is in sight,” WHO Director-Basic Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus advised reporters at a digital press convention.
That was essentially the most upbeat evaluation from the UN company because it declared a world emergency in January 2020 and began describing Covid-19 as a pandemic three months later.
The virus, which emerged in China in late 2019, has killed practically 6.5 million individuals and contaminated 606 million, roiling international economies and overwhelming healthcare methods.
The rollout of vaccines and therapies have helped to stem deaths and hospitalisations, and the Omicron variant which emerged late final 12 months causes much less extreme illness. Deaths from Covid-19 final week have been the bottom since March 2020, the UN company reported.
Nonetheless on Wednesday, he once more urged nations to keep up their vigilance and likened the pandemic to a marathon race.
“Now’s the time to run more durable and ensure we cross the road and reap the rewards of all our arduous work.”
International locations must take a tough take a look at their insurance policies and strengthen them for Covid-19 and future viruses, Tedros mentioned. He additionally urged nations to vaccinate 100% of their high-risk teams and hold testing for the virus.
The WHO mentioned nations want to keep up enough provides of medical gear and healthcare staff.
“We anticipate there to be future waves of infections, doubtlessly at totally different time factors all through the world attributable to totally different subvariants of Omicron and even totally different variants of concern,” mentioned WHO’s senior epidemiologist Maria Van Kerkhove.
With over 1 million deaths this 12 months alone, the pandemic stays an emergency globally and inside most nations.
“The Covid-19 summer time wave, pushed by Omicron BA.4 and BA.5, confirmed that the pandemic shouldn’t be but over because the virus continues to flow into in Europe and past,” a European Fee spokesperson mentioned.
WHO’s subsequent assembly of specialists to resolve whether or not the pandemic nonetheless represents a public well being emergency of worldwide concern is due in October, a WHO spokesperson mentioned.
International emergency
“It is most likely honest to say a lot of the world is transferring past the emergency section of the pandemic response,” mentioned Dr Michael Head, senior analysis fellow in international well being at Southampton College.
Governments at the moment are taking a look at how greatest to handle Covidas a part of their routine healthcare and surveillance, he mentioned.
Europe, the UK and the US have accepted vaccines that focus on the Omicron variant in addition to the unique virus as nations put together to launch winter booster campaigns.
In the US, Covid-19 was initially declared a public well being emergency in January 2020, and that standing has been renewed quarterly ever since.
The US well being division is ready to resume it once more in mid-October for what coverage specialists anticipate is the final time earlier than it expires in January 2023.
US well being officers have mentioned that the pandemic shouldn’t be over, however that new bivalent vaccines mark an necessary shift within the struggle in opposition to the virus. They predict {that a} single annual vaccine akin to the flu shot ought to present a excessive diploma of safety and return the nation nearer to normalcy.

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