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The World Health Organisation (WHO) has revealed that it has continued to see a decline in COVID-19 cases globally, with a 17 percent drop compared with last week in what appear to be positive signs for the world.
This was made known by WHO Director-General, Dr. Tedros Ghebreyesus, in a speech posted on its website on Friday. He stated that the number of deaths had also reduced.
Ghebreyesus, speaking at a news conference at WHO headquarters in Geneva, said, “this is the fourth week of declining cases.
‘The number of deaths also fell for the second week in a row, with 88,000 new deaths reported last week – a terrible number, but a 10 percent decline from the previous week.
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‘These declines appear to be due to countries implementing public health measures more stringently.’
‘But remember, we have been here before. Now is not the time to relax measures or for any of us to let down our guard.
‘Every life that is lost now is all the more tragic as vaccines are now being rolled out; the virus continues to circulate widely and new variants are emerging.
‘This is not an unexpected development, but it gives new urgency to our global efforts to bring this pandemic under control.
‘Every time the virus mutates, it has the potential to blunt the effectiveness of our vaccines, medicines, and tests,’ he said.
According to him, there are three major threats to the UN-led international equitable vaccine initiative, COVAX, that requires urgent attention amidst news of a decline in cases and deaths of COVID-19.
Ghebreyesus, however, used the opportunity to draw attention to a 27-billion-dollar financing gap in the ACT Accelerator, which supported the development and equitable distribution of coronavirus tests, treatments, and vaccines globally.
‘The longer this gap goes unmet, the harder it becomes to understand why, given this is a tiny fraction of the trillions of dollars that have been mobilized for stimulus packages in G20 countries,’ he said.
Secondly, noting some bilateral deals, he called on all States ‘to respect COVAX contracts and not compete with them’.
And third, he underscored the need for ‘an urgent scale-up in manufacturing to increase the volume of vaccines’ with ‘innovative partnerships‘ to include tech transfer, licensing, and ‘other mechanisms to address production bottlenecks’.
Meanwhile, as Africa marked one year since its first COVID-19 case on Sunday, Feb. 14, WHO revealed that the continent had witnessed a 40 percent surge in COVID -19 fatalities – pushing the death toll there toward 100,000.
‘The increasing deaths from COVID-19 we are seeing are tragic but are also disturbing warning signs that health workers are overstretched.
‘There are also warning that health systems in Africa are dangerously overstretched,’ WHO Regional Director for Africa Matshidiso Moeti, said in a statement posted on WHO Regional Office for Africa website.
AFRICA DAILY NEWS, NEW YORK