World

Covid-19: This is approaching the highest rate of infection that we have seen so far: WHO Chief

Our Bureau Mumbai | Updated on April 17, 2021

‘There is an alarming increase in cases and deaths around the globe, number of new cases per week has doubled’

There is an alarming increase in the number of Covid-19 cases globally according to the World Health Organisation Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus.

The WHO Chief at a Special Ministerial Meeting on Friday said, “We have the tools to end this pandemic, but we are also facing a worldwide resurgence. There is an alarming increase in cases and deaths around the globe. The number of new cases per week has nearly doubled over the past two months.”

“This is approaching the highest rate of infection that we have seen so far during the pandemic,” he added.

Ghebreyesus attributed the increase to multiple factors including “rapidly spreading variants, the inconsistent use and premature easing of public health measures, the understandable fatigue of populations with social restrictions, and the dramatic inequity in vaccine coverage.”

He called for vaccine equity across the globe which is currently a major challenge.

According to the WHO chief, over 832 million vaccine doses have been administered globally, “but over 82 per cent have gone to high- or upper-middle-income countries, while low-income countries have received just 0.2 per cent.”

“On average in high-income countries, more than one in four people have received a vaccine. In low-income countries, it is almost one in 500,” he said.

He further highlighted the impact of vaccine inequity.

“The more transmission, the more variants. And the more variants that emerge, the more likely it is that they could evade vaccines. And as long as the virus is circulating anywhere, the longer the global recovery will take,” he said.

He also called for ramping up vaccine productions and urged countries to invest in local vaccine manufacturing.

Furthermore, vaccine alone won’t be enough, as per Ghebreyesus.

“We urge all countries to implement a tailored, measured, agile and evidence-based combination of measures, including surveillance, testing, contact tracing, supportive quarantine and compassionate care,” he said.

“And we must continue to encourage people to take the personal precautions to keep themselves and others safe: physical distancing, masks, hand hygiene and ventilation. The whole response should be everybody’s business,” he added.

According to the official WHO dashboard, globally, as of 3:46 pm CEST, 16 April 2021, 138,688,383 confirmed cases of Covid-19, including 2,978,935 deaths were reported.

Published on April 17, 2021

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