WHO director-general Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus (file photo). Photograph:( AFP )
During a media briefing on COVID-19, WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said that 77 countries have now reported cases of Omicron.
World Health Organization Director General Tedros A Ghebreyesus provided an update on the Omicron variant strain, saying that 77 nations have already reported cases of the novel strain.
According to the WHO, Omicron is most likely present in most nations, even though it has yet to be detected.
He went on to say, "Omicron is spreading at a rate we haven't seen with any other variety."
Dr. Tedros believes that COVID vaccination alone will not be enough to stop the pandemic, and that mask use, social distancing, ventilation, and hand hygiene should be prioritised.
The WHO director general voiced concern about the potential threat posed by the Omicron form, as well as governments rushing to inoculate their populations with COVID vaccine booster doses.
Dr. Tedros stated unequivocally, "The WHO is not against booster doses, but against inequity."
The global health organisation earlier in the day urged member countries in its South-East Asia Region to increase investments in primary health care as the foundation for universal health coverage and health security, noting that PHC plays a critical role in enabling better preparedness and response to pandemics, citing the emergence of the Omicron variant in more than 70 countries.
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Dr Poonam Khetrapal Singh, Regional Director, WHO South-East Asia Region, noted at a high-level meeting that nations with strong primary health care (PHC) systems were able to respond better and sooner to the COVID-19 pandemic while still sustaining vital services with minimal disruption.
"One of the key lessons of the COVID-19 pandemic is that the best defence against disease outbreaks and other health emergencies is resilient primary health care as the foundation of universal health coverage. Many of the countries that have responded most effectively to COVID-19 are those that have invested adequately in PHC, "the statement quoted WHO Director-General Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus as saying at the high-level meeting.
(With inputs from agencies)