The number of fatalities caused by Covid-19 worldwide has decreased over the past week to the lowest level since March 2020 and the coronavirus pandemic may end in the near future, WHO Director General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said at a briefing in Geneva on Wednesday (Sep 15).
"Last week, the number of weekly reported deaths from Covid-19 was the lowest since March 2020," he said. "We have never been in a better position to end the pandemic. We are not there yet, but the end is in sight," the official stated.
Ghebreyesus compared the fight against the coronavirus pandemic with a marathon, stressing: "We can see the finish line. We're in a winning position. But now is the worst time to stop running." Due to this, he urged the global community to exert additional efforts to counteract the spread of the infection. "If we don't take this opportunity now, we run the risk of more variants, more deaths, more disruption, and more uncertainty. So let's seize this opportunity," the WHO chief stated.
He urged all countries to fully inoculate "the most at-risk groups, including health workers and older people." According to the official, this is a priority task on the way to reaching the goal set by the WHO – to vaccinate no less than 70% of residents in each country.
According to the WHO weekly epidemiological update published on Wednesday, more than 3.1 mln people worldwide have contracted the coronavirus infection over the past week and about 11,000 died. The number of infections decreased by 28% versus the previous seven days while the number of fatalities dropped by 22%.
The virus, which emerged in China in late 2019, has killed nearly 6.5 million people and infected 606 million, roiling global economies and overwhelming healthcare systems.
The rollout of vaccines and therapies has helped to stem the severity of the disease.
Monkeypox cases, too, were on a downtrend trend but Tedros urged countries to keep up the fight.
WHO officials said last month that it is possible to eliminate the monkeypox outbreak in Europe by stepping up vaccination and testing.
"As with Covid-19, this is not the time to relax or let down our guard."