The coronavirus epidemic remains a global health emergency, the World Health Organization (W.H.O.) chief warned Monday, telling the world to keep getting vaccinated and boosted, use antivirals, and heed directions from the Switzerland-based instrumentality.
State health bodies have also been cautioned to “continue to monitor individual and public response” to directions.
Speaking at the opening of W.H.O.’s annual executive board meeting, Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus conceded “there is no doubt that we’re in a far better situation now” than a year ago — when the highly transmissible Omicron variant was at its peak, but that does not mean anyone should drop their guard.
Despite the urging of the W.H.O. global resistance still exists to the compulsory vaccination regimes, with some countries like Australia looking at fourth and fifth boosters while telling citizens to step forward.
Tedros said in the last eight weeks, at least 170,000 people have died around the world in connection with the coronavirus. He called for at-risk groups to be fully vaccinated, an increase in testing and early use of antivirals, an expansion of lab networks, and a fight against “misinformation” from contrary sources about the pandemic.
The warnings came just hours after it was revealed the UK government had used military resources to monitor the public response to its warnings and lockdown procedures during the height of the pandemic.
“We remain hopeful that in the coming year, the world will transition to a new phase in which we reduce hospitalizations and deaths to the lowest possible level,” he said.
Committee members cited “pandemic fatigue” and the increasing public perception that coronavirus isn’t as much of a risk as it once was, leading to people to increasingly ignore or disregard health measures like mask-wearing and social distancing.
The statement issued at the end of the meeting also urged that “States Parties should continue to monitor individual and public response to the implementation of PHSM and the uptake and acceptability of COVID-19 vaccines, and implement measures, including communication strategies, to support appropriate utilization.”