'COVID-19 can end in 2022, if…', says WHO chief Ghebreyesus amid Omicron spread

WION Web Team
New Delhi Published: Jan 02, 2022, 03:18 PM(IST)

Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus Photograph:( AFP )

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Highlighting that COVID-19 is not the only health threat the world's people will face next year, Tedros said that millions of people have missed out on routine vaccination, treatment for communicable and non-communicable diseases

World Health Organisation (WHO) chief Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus has expressed optimism that the COVID-19 pandemic can end in 2022, provided countries stop hoarding vaccines and ensure equitable access.

Ghebreyesus on Friday warned against “narrow nationalism and vaccine hoarding” in a new year statement, reports the BBC.

His comments come two years since the WHO was first notified of cases of an unknown pneumonia strain in China.

“Narrow nationalism and vaccine hoarding by some countries have undermined equity and created the ideal conditions for the emergence of the Omicron variant, and the longer inequity continues, the higher the risks of the virus evolving in ways we can't prevent or predict," he said.

"If we end inequity, we end the pandemic," he added.

Highlighting that COVID-19 is not the only health threat the world's people will face next year, he said that millions of people have missed out on routine vaccination, services for family planning, treatment for communicable and non-communicable diseases.

Also read | 85% of Omicron hospitalisations did not have booster vax in England: Report

“While no country is out of the woods from the pandemic, we have many new tools to prevent and treat COVID-19. The longer inequity continues, the higher the risks of this virus evolving in ways we can't prevent or predict. If we end inequity, we end the pandemic,” he said. 

Also read | Omicron less severe than other variants: Find out why?

“As we enter the third year of the COVID-19 pandemic, I'm confident that this will be the year we end it —but only if we do it together,” he said.

He further said that WHO recommended broad use of the world's first malaria vaccine, which if introduced widely and urgently, could save tens of thousands of lives every year.

“The eradication of polio has never been closer, with just five cases recorded in the two remaining endemic countries. And tobacco use continues to decline. Meanwhile, WHO and our partners responded to crises around the world, including stopping new outbreaks of Ebola and Marburg," WHO chief said.

(With inputs from agencies)

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