Head of WHO says world faces two-track pandemic

Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus issues warning as infections rise in Americas, Africa and Western Pacific

Director General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus. AFP.
Director General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus. AFP.

The head of the World Health Organisation on Monday warned of a “two-track pandemic”, with deaths among older people declining in countries with higher vaccination rates as infections rise in the Americas, Africa and the Western Pacific.

WHO Director General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus also warned countries facing outbreaks of new variants such as the Delta variant, which was first identified in India, against lifting Covid-19 restrictions too quickly.

Dr Tedros said it “could be disastrous for those who are not vaccinated”.

With G7 leaders set to meet in Cornwall, England, this week, he intensified his call for wealthy countries to do more to battle inequality in access to coronavirus vaccines.

Dr Tedros repeated his challenge of vaccinating at least 10 per cent of the population in every country by the end of September and 30 per cent by the end of the year.

“To reach these targets, we need an additional 250 million doses by September, and we need 100 million doses just in June and July,” he said before the summit of leaders from Britain, Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan and the US.

“These seven nations have the power to meet these targets. I’m calling on the G7 not just to commit to sharing those, but to commit to sharing them in June and July.”

Dr Tedros said there were “encouraging signs”, including that the number of new Covid-19 cases has declined for six weeks in a row, and deaths from the pandemic have fallen for five straight weeks.

Updated: June 7, 2021 11:19 PM

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