WHO Director-General says Covid pandemic is "nowhere near over" 3 weeks ago

WHO Director-General says Covid pandemic is "nowhere near over"

"As the virus pushes at us, we must push back."

As the summer rolls on, Covid numbers continue to rise across Ireland and the world.

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The Director-General of the World Health Organisation (WHO) has shared concerns over the rising numbers, saying that the pandemic is "nowhere near over."

Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus made the comments at a media briefing on Tuesday (12 July).

"Sub-variants of Omicron, like BA.4 and BA.5, continue to drive waves of cases, hospitalisation and death around the world," Ghebreyesus said.

"Second, surveillance has reduced significantly – including testing and sequencing – making it increasingly difficult to assess the impact of variants on transmission, disease characteristics, and the effectiveness of counter-measures.

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"Third, diagnostics, treatments and vaccines are not being deployed effectively.

"The virus is running freely and countries are not effectively managing the disease burden based on their capacity, in terms of both hospitalisation for acute cases and the expanding number of people with post covid condition - often referred to as long-covid.

"Finally, there is a major disconnect in Covid-19 risk perception between scientific communities, political leaders and the general public."

The WHO Emergency Committee on Covid-19 made a number of recommendations, which Ghebreyesus welcomed.

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"New waves of the virus demonstrate again that Covid-19 is nowhere near over," the Director-General said.

"As the virus pushes at us, we must push back.

"We’re in a much better position than at the beginning of the pandemic.

"Of course, there’s been a lot of progress.

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"We have safe and effective tools that prevent infections, hospitalizations and deaths.

"However, we should not take them for granted."

Those who contracted Covid-19 around Christmas in 2021 do not have protection from the current wave of Covid-19 in Ireland, a leading virologist has warned.

Dr Cillian de Gascun, the Director of the Irish Republic’s National Virus Reference Laboratory, gave the warning on RTÉ's This Week programme.