Global Covid-19 cases and deaths stable Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus

Roselyne Sachiti

Features, Health and Society Editor

The World Health Organisation (WHO) Director General Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus yesterday said the global number of Covid-19 cases and deaths was stable last week following an increase for nearly two months.

In his opening remarks at a media briefing on Covid-19, Dr Adhanom Ghebreyesus however  pointed out that the stability is at a very high level – more than 4.5 million cases and 68 thousand deaths.

However, the situation is very different from region to region, country to country, province to province and town to town.

“Some regions and countries continue to see steep increases in cases and deaths, while others are declining.

“As long as this virus is circulating anywhere, it’s a threat everywhere. There are no shortcuts. WHO continues to recommend a comprehensive, risk-based approach of proven public health and social measures, in combination with equitable vaccination,” he said.

He added that last Friday, WHO issued an open call to scientists around the world to apply to the new Scientific Advisory Group for the Origins of Novel Pathogens, or SAGO.

“SAGO will be composed of experts acting in their own capacity, not as representatives of Member States, and will play a vital role in studying the emergence of new pathogens, including the next phase of studies into the origins of SARS-CoV-2,” he added.

Dr Adhanom Ghebreyesus encouraged all qualified professionals to apply emphasising they need the best people to be part of this important new advisory group.

“I wish to emphasise that SAGO will not delay the progress of the studies into the origins of SARS-CoV-2.

“Even as we remain focused on ending the pandemic, WHO is moving forward with plans to understand its origins.

The report of the international team published in March outlined a number of studies that can be taken forward without delay. We have encouraged all parties to pursue those studies.”

Added Adhanom Ghebreyesus: “Even as we continue our work to understand how this pandemic started, we are also moving ahead with plans to strengthen the world’s defences against future epidemics and pandemics.

“As you know, there have been several reports with many recommendations for how to do this, including the report of the Independent Panel on Pandemic Preparedness and Response, the Review Committee of the International Health Regulations, the Independent Oversight and Advisory Committee of the WHO Health Emergencies Programme, and others.”

He said recently, the G20 established a High-Level Independent Panel on Financing the Global Commons for Pandemic Preparedness and Response.

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