'Premature,' 'unrealistic' COVID-19 will end soon

But the virus remains in control the WHO said especially given that global new case numbers increased last week after six consecutive weeks of decline

But the virus remains in control the WHO said especially given that global new case numbers increased last week after six consecutive weeks of decline

WHO emergencies director Michael Ryan said the world will not vanquish the Covid-19 pandemic this year.

In the World Health Organization's epidemiological report last week, the United Nations agency said new infections had fallen worldwide for the sixth consecutive week - the first time such a sustained drop had been seen since the pandemic began.

"We still face a huge challenge in rolling out vaccines equitably and fairly to those who most need them around the world", Ryan said".

"If the vaccines begin to impact not only on death and not only on hospitalization, but have a significant impact on transmission dynamics and transmission risk, then I believe we will accelerate toward controlling this pandemic".

But he added that recent progress could not be taken for granted and "right now the virus is very much in control".

As the world is struggling to contain the pandemic, vaccination is underway in some countries with the already-authorized coronavirus vaccines.

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He said, "It's regrettable that some countries continue to prioritize vaccinating younger, healthier adults at lower risk in their own populations ahead of health workers and older people elsewhere".

Tedros noted that Ghana and Ivory Coast became the first countries on Monday to begin vaccinating people with doses supplied by COVAX, the global programme to provide vaccines for poor and middle-income countries. "We are asking all countries to be part of a global effort to suppress the virus everywhere".

WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said new case numbers rose last week in Europe, the Americas, Southeast Asia and the eastern Mediterranean. He described the increase as "disappointing", but said it wasn't surprising.

Maria Van Kerkhove, the WHO's Covid-19 technical lead, added: "If the last week tells us anything, it's that this virus will rebound if we let it - and we can not let it".

Tedros said WHO was working to better understand why cases increased, but that part of that spike appeared to be due to the "relaxing of public health measures".

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