WHO chief warns infection rate approaching highest level ever

The Director General of the World Health Organization (WHO), Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, will attend a press conference at WHO headquarters on July 3, 2020, organized by the Union of Geneva Correspondents’ Association (ACANU) in the context of the COVID-19 outbreak caused by the novel coronavirus was organized in Geneva.

FABRIC COFFRINI | AFP | Getty Images

LONDON – The head of the World Health Organization said Friday that an alarming spike in Covid cases has pushed global infections to the pandemic peak.

“Worldwide cases and deaths continue to rise at a worrying rate,” WHO Director General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said in a briefing on Papua New Guinea and the western Pacific.

“Globally, the number of new cases per week has almost doubled in the past two months. This is approaching the highest infection rate we’ve seen to date during the pandemic,” he continued.

“Some countries that previously avoided widespread transmission are now seeing large increases in infections,” Tedros said, citing Papua New Guinea as an example.

Tedros said the United Nations Department of Health will continue to assess developments in the coronavirus crisis and “adjust advice accordingly”.

According to Tedros, the WHO Emergency Committee met on Thursday in accordance with international health regulations and expected to receive their advice on Monday.

“Globally, our message to all people in all countries remains the same. We all play a role in ending the pandemic,” he said.

According to the Johns Hopkins University, more than 139 million Covid cases have been reported worldwide with 2.9 million deaths.

The WHO declared the coronavirus a global pandemic on March 11, 2020.

“Shocking Imbalance”

Tedros previously said that one of WHO’s top priorities is to increase the ambitions of COVAX, an initiative for equitable access to Covid vaccines around the world, to help all countries end the pandemic.

The COVAX plan was supposed to deliver nearly 100 million vaccines to people by the end of March, but has only distributed around 38 million doses.

WHO hopes the initiative can catch up in the coming months, but condemns what it calls a “shocking imbalance” in the distribution of vaccines between high and low-income countries.

The health department has also criticized countries that, for political or commercial reasons, sought their own vaccine agreements outside the COVAX initiative.

Earlier this year, Tedros warned the world was facing “catastrophic moral failure” because of vaccine inequality.

He said a “I-first” approach to vaccines would put the world’s poorest and most vulnerable people at risk, adding the approach was “self-destructive” as it would encourage hoarding and likely prolong the health crisis.

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