Even after two years, the Covid virus remains unpredictable and World Health Organisation reiterated we can’t afford to ‘take our eyes off the virus’. WHO officials said that with each mutation, Omicron subvariants are becoming more transmissible than the previous one. ‘And this will continue,’ officials warned.
During a recent conference, WHO’s Maria Van Kerkhove said, “What we can say is as this virus evolves, the latest variants—Omicron and all the sub-lineages—are more transmissible than the last variant circulating and we know that that will continue. There will be more variants of SARS-CoV-2.”
Hence, “we cannot afford to take our eye off the ball for this virus despite all of the other challenges circulating.”
At the event, the WHO official also pointed out that it cannot be said that the acute phase of COVID is over. “We live in an interconnected world. And so while some countries may have been able to end the emergency phase of this pandemic, we don’t see that in all countries worldwide. So we need to continue to fight this at a global level.”
The UN health agency in its weekly report pointed out that about 3.5 million new cases and more than 25,000 deaths were reported globally, which respectively represent decreases of 12% and 25%.
WHO’s report noted that some of the biggest jumps in COVID-19 cases were seen in China, which saw a 145% rise in the last week. And this promted the WHO chief questioning the sustainability of the country’s zero-Covid policy, the head of the world health organisation has been targeted on Chinese social media platforms.
WHO chief had said, “When we talk about the zero-COVID strategy, we don’t think that it’s sustainable, considering the behaviour of the virus now and what we anticipate in the future.”
WHO also said there were only two regions where reported COVID-19 infections increased: the Americas, by 14%, and Africa, by 12%. Cases remained stable in the Western Pacific and fell everywhere else. However, it stressed the decrease in cases is due to the drop in the number of tests worlwide.
(With inputs from agencies)