WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said there were indications that the Omicron-fuelled surge of Covid cases may have peaked in some countries Photograph:( AFP )
Tedros said the WHO officials travelling to China currently will help lay the groundwork for the WHO-led international mission to understand the the origins of the virus
As two WHO experts are currently en route to meet Chinese officials to learn about the origin of the COVID-19 pandemic, World Health Organisation (WHO) chief Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said that in the last six weeks coronavirus cases have more than doubled worldwide.
"There are many examples from around the world that have shown that even if the outbreak is very intense, it can still be brought back under control," the WHO chief said, adding, "and some of these examples are Italy, Spain and South Korea, and even in Dharavi – a densely packed area in the megacity of Mumbai – a strong focus on community engagement and the basics of testing, tracing, isolating and treating all those that are sick is key to breaking the chains of transmission and suppressing the virus."
Tedros said the WHO officials travelling to China currently will help lay the groundwork for the WHO-led international mission to understand the origins of the virus and meet fellow scientists and learn about the progress made in understanding the animal reservoir for COVID-19 and how the disease jumped between animals to humans.
"Across all walks of life, we are all being tested to the limit," Tedros said, "from countries where there is exponential growth to places that are loosening restrictions and now starting to see cases rise."
"Only aggressive action combined with national unity and global solidarity can turn this pandemic around," the WHO chief said.
Meanwhile, Dr Mike Ryan, head of WHO's emergencies programme, said it was unlikely that the new coronavirus would be eliminated.
"In the current situation it is unlikely we can eradicate this virus," Ryan said while stressing that "by extinguishing clusters of infection, the world could potentially avoid the worst of having second peaks and having to move backwards in terms of lockdown".