The number of new Covid-19 infections across the world has increased for the first time in seven weeks, the Director-General of the World Health Organization (WHO), Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus revealed on Monday.
Ghebreyesus told a WHO coronavirus briefing that increases had been reported in four of the UN health agency’s six regions: the Americas, Europe, Southeast Asia, and the Eastern Mediterranean.
“This is disappointing, but not surprising,” he continued, adding that the WHO was working to understand the increases.
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He went on to suggest that case rates had climbed due to the relaxation of public health measures, the circulation of variants of the virus, and people letting down their guard to the dangers of infection.
Ghebreyesus stressed that public health measures remain the foundation of the Covid-19 response and that any governments relying solely on vaccines to tackle the virus are “making a mistake.”
Mike Ryan, the director of the WHO’s Emergencies Program, who was also present at the briefing, said Covid-19 would likely be a reality into 2022.
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“It would be very premature and unrealistic to think we’re going to finish with this virus by the end of the year,” he said.
“But I think what we can – if we’re smart – finish with is the hospitalizations, the deaths, and the tragedy associated with this pandemic.”
Across the globe, there have been more than 114 million confirmed Covid-19 cases and more than 2.5 million deaths since the start of the pandemic, according to data from Johns Hopkins University in the US.
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