WHO chief expresses concern over rising Covid cases and deaths

Our Bureau Mumbai | Updated on April 24, 2021

India ‘devastating reminder’ of what the virus can do: Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus

The World Health Organization’s chief Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus has pointed to the Covid-19 situation in India and stressed the need for a comprehensive approach to tackle the virus.

“We’re deeply concerned about the increasing number of cases and deaths in India right now,” he said, adding that the situation was “a devastating reminder of what this virus can do and why we must marshal every tool against it in a comprehensive and integrated approach: public health measures, vaccines, diagnostics and therapeutics.”

“This is a scenario that is playing out around the world, and will continue to play out unless we ensure equitable access to the tools needed to save lives,” he added.

The solution is straightforward, he said, calling on countries with the resources, to share them. And that meant, financial sharing and sharing of vaccine doses “to protect the most at-risk, not just the most-rich,” he said, adding that countries needed to be transparent about their bilateral dose donations.

It also means sharing technology, know-how and intellectual property, to urgently and massively scale up production, he said, adding the the WHO-supported ACT Accelerator needed $19 billion this year. “That’s a drop in the ocean compared with the trillions of dollars governments are spending on supporting their economies, and the massive revenues that most vaccine makers are generating,” he said.

The ACT Accelerator

The WHO and partners had come together a year ago to set up the Access to Covid-19 Tools Accelerator. The ACT Accelerator was conceived with the aim of rapidly developing vaccines, diagnostics and therapeutics, and to ensure the equitable access to those tools. And while the first part had been achieved with the vaccines, oxygen and diagnostics, he said, “we have a long way to go on the second objective. Around the world, people are dying because they’re not vaccinated, they’re not tested, and they’re not treated.”

Published on April 24, 2021

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