Sep 14, 2022 - Health

WHO chief says end of COVID pandemic "is in sight"

Director-General of the World Health Organisation (WHO) Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus delivers a speech during the 72nd session of the WHO Regional Committee for Europe on September 12, 2022
WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus. Photo: Jack Guez/AFP via Getty Images

WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said Wednesday that the end of the pandemic "is in sight," but cautioned that "we are not there yet."

Driving the news: "We have never been in a better position to end the pandemic," Tedros said, noting that the number of deaths from COVID-19 last week was the lowest it's been since March of 2020.

  • "If we don't take this opportunity now, we run the risk of more variants, more deaths, more disruption and more uncertainty, so let's seize this opportunity," Tedros added.

The big picture: The WHO director-general's remarks are the most optimistic since the United Nations agency declared the coronavirus outbreak a pandemic in March 2020, Reuters notes.

  • Tedros urged governments to "take a hard look" at their policies and "strengthen them for COVID-19 and future pathogens with pandemic potential."
  • "We urge all countries to invest in vaccinating 100% of the most at-risk groups, including health workers and older people," he said and asked countries to "keep testing and sequencing" for COVID-19 virus.

State of play: COVID has killed approximately 6.5 million people and infected more than 609 million, per Johns Hopkins University's online tracker.

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