“Last week, the number of weekly deaths from Covid-19 fell to the lowest since March 2020. We have never been in a better position to end the pandemic,” said Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus during of a press briefing in Geneva.
However, he warned: "We are not there yet, but the end is at hand."
"Someone who runs a marathon does not stop when he sees the finish line. He runs faster, with all the energy he has left. And so do we," said the WHO chief.
"We can all see the finish line, we are on the way to winning but it really would be the worst time to stop racing," he insisted.
"If we don't seize this opportunity, we run the risk of having more variants, more deaths, more disruptions and more uncertainty", underlines Dr. Tedros, calling for "seizing this opportunity".
According to the latest epidemiological report published by the WHO and devoted to Covid-19, the number of cases fell by 12% during the week of August 29 to September 4 compared to the previous week to some 4.2 million new infections. declared.
The number of infections is undoubtedly much higher, in particular because mild cases are not necessarily declared, but also because many countries have more or less dismantled their testing capacity.
As of September 4, the WHO counted more than 600 million officially confirmed cases – again a number undoubtedly much lower than the reality, as is that of the officially listed deaths of 6.4 million people who died.
A study by the organization based on projections and assessments published in May reported 13 to almost 17 million additional deaths from Covid by the end of 2021.
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At the same time as Dr. Tedros launched his message of hope, the WHO published six guides intended for Member States to enable them to quickly put behind them this health crisis which has also cost trillions of euros in term of growth, paralyzed for long months whole sections of the world economy and laid bare inequalities in the world, particularly in terms of vaccination.
The rich countries have monopolized the available doses and in many poor countries the vaccination rates are still insufficient.
These recommendations "are an urgent call on governments to seriously consider their policies, to strengthen them against Covid-19 and future pathogens that could have the potential to cause a pandemic", underlined the head of the UN organization.
Among these recommendations, messages that the WHO has been repeating for almost 2 years and the arrival of vaccines: vaccinate 100% of vulnerable people and health personnel, continue testing and gene sequencing programs, which in particular makes it possible to monitor the trace of new potentially dangerous variants.
"We can end this pandemic together, but only if countries, businesses, communities and individuals step up and seize the opportunity," said Dr Tedros.