The World Health Organization has come out to remind everyone that the world is not yet out of the Coronavirus pandemic yet, despite declining coronavirus infection levels and increasing vaccine rates.
The mood may be lightening up in the U.S. and elsewhere as people get their shots, and infections and deaths decline, but COVID-19 is still a very real and present danger, World Health Organization (WHO) director-general Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus has said.
The world has seen 170.5 million documented cases of the novel coronavirus, with 3.5 million dead, according to figures from Johns Hopkins University. Nearly 2 billion vaccines have been administered.
Speaking at the 74th World Health Assembly on Monday night, May 31, Tedros called on the world’s nations to work together to end this pandemic and prepare for the next one, proposing a treaty on pandemic preparedness and response.
“The reality is, we still have a lot of work to do to end this pandemic,” Tedros said in his closing remarks.
“We’re very encouraged that cases and deaths are continuing to decline globally, but it would be a monumental error for any country to think the danger has passed.”
He urged member states to aim to vaccinate at least 10% of the population of all countries by the end of September, and at least 30% by the end of the year.
“One day – hopefully soon – the pandemic will be behind us, but the psychological scars will remain for those who have lost loved ones, health workers who have been stretched beyond breaking point, and the millions of people of all ages confronted with months of loneliness and isolation,” Tedros said.
“We will still face the same vulnerabilities that allowed a small outbreak to become a global pandemic,” he pointed out.
“The questions the pandemic is asking us cannot simply be answered with new institutions, mechanisms, facilities or processes. The challenges we face are profound, and so must be the solutions we design.”
“The one recommendation I believe will do the most to strengthen WHO and global health security is the recommendation of a treaty on pandemic preparedness and response which could also strengthen relations between member states and foster cooperation,” Tedros said.
“This is an idea whose time has come.”