Coronavirus: The pandemic is not coming to an end with Omicron, warns the WHO

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by Emma Farge and Mrinalika Roy

GENEVA (Reuters) – The head of the World Health Organization (WHO) warned on Monday that it was dangerous to assume the Omicron variant would herald the end of the most severe phase of the COVID-19 pandemic, urging nations to stay focused in the face of the health crisis.

“It is dangerous to assume that the Omicron variant will be the last and that we are in the endgame,” Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus told a meeting of the WHO executive board devoted to the two-year pandemic. killed nearly six million people around the world.

“On the contrary, on a global scale, the conditions are ideal for the emergence of new strains,” he added.

The Omicron variant of the coronavirus responsible for COVID-19 has pushed the total number of cases to nearly 350 million but its low lethality and the growing prevalence of vaccines have sparked optimism in some regions that the worst of the pandemic will come. may have passed.

Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, the first African leader of the WHO who is running unopposed for a second term, called for discipline and “to work together to end the acute phase of this pandemic”.

“We can’t let it drag on, oscillating between panic and negligence,” he said at a press conference.

Countries must maximize the strategies and tools already available, such as testing and vaccination, for the global health emergency to end this year, he argued.

(Report Emma Farge and Paul Carrel; French version Dina Kartit, edited by Blandine Hénault)

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