By Tara Rippin • 02 March 2021 • 10:22
Covid crisis unlikely to be over by end of 2021, warns WHO executive director of emergency services.
IT is “premature” and “unrealistic” to believe the pandemic will be over by the of the year, despite the roll-out of vaccines and lockdowns slowing down the spread of the virus, said Dr Michael Ryan at a press briefing in Geneva.
He said that while the most vulnerable or at risk groups are being immunised, helping to remove “fear” from the current health situation, the virus is still “very much in control”.
“If the vaccines begin to impact not only on death and not only on hospitalisation, but have a significant impact on transmission dynamics and transmission risk, then I believe we will accelerate toward controlling this pandemic,” said Dr Ryan.
For the first time in almost two months the number of infections worldwide rose last week, with a rise in reported cases in Europe, the Americas, south-east Asia and the eastern Mediterranean, according to WHO.
Director general of the WHO, Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said the figures are disappointing but not surprising, and said that “we’re working to better understand these increases in transmission”.
Dr Ghebreyesus said it could be a combination of a relaxation of public health measures, people letting their guard down and the “continued circulation of variants”:
He added that while vaccines could help save lives, but it would be a “mistake” to rely solely on vaccination and that basic health measures “remain the foundation of the response”.
“We’re asking all countries to be part of a global effort to suppress the virus everywhere.”
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Tara Rippin is a reporter for Spain’s largest English-speaking newspaper, Euro Weekly News, and is responsible for the Costa Blanca region.
She has been in journalism for more than 20 years, having worked for local newspapers in the Midlands, UK, before relocating to Spain in 1990.
Since arriving, the mother-of-one has made her home on the Costa Blanca, while spending 18 months at the EWN head office in Fuengirola on the Costa del Sol.
She loves being part of a community that has a wonderful expat and Spanish mix, and strives to bring the latest and most relevant news to EWN’s loyal and valued readers.
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