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COVID-19 deaths at lowest in 1 year – WHO

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COVID-19 deaths at lowest in 1 year – WHO

By Cecilia Ologunagba

The World Health Organization (WHO) has said the death toll from the coronavirus (COVID-19) is now at its lowest level in nearly a year.

WHO director-general Dr Tedros Ghebreyesus told a press conference in Geneva on Wednesday that vaccine inequality has persisted despite falling deaths from COVID-19.

Ghebreyesus reported that the death toll from COVID-19 was still at an unacceptable level, noting that nearly 50,000 deaths per week and the actual number was certainly higher.

He said: “Deaths are declining in all regions except Europe, where several countries are facing new waves of cases and deaths. And of course, deaths are highest in countries and populations with the least access to vaccines. “

Ghebreyesus again called for greater support for developing countries to ensure equitable distribution of the COVID-19 vaccine.

He called for global cooperation, saying “countries that continue to roll out booster shots are now effectively preventing other countries from vaccinating their most-at-risk populations.”

As of Wednesday, there were more than 238 million cases of COVID-19 worldwide and more than 4.8 million deaths.

WHO had previously pushed governments to vaccinate 10% of their population by the end of September, a target 56 countries missed, most in Africa.

The director-general said more countries were at risk of missing the 40% target to be reached by the end of the year.

“Three countries – Burundi, Eritrea and the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea – have yet to start immunizations.

“About half of the remaining countries are limited by supply. They have an on-going vaccination program, but don’t have enough supply to accelerate enough to hit the target, ”he said.

Ghebreyesus urged countries and companies that control the global vaccine supply to prioritize distribution to the COVAX solidarity initiative and the African Vaccine Acquisition Trust (AVAT).

At the same time, he said WHO and its partners were working with other countries such as those affected by fragility or conflict to strengthen technical and logistical capacities for vaccine deployment.

“With aggressive and ambitious action, most of these countries can still meet the 40% target by the end of this year, or be on track to achieve it,” he said.

He also referred to the escalating crisis in northern Ethiopia, where a nearly yearlong war in the Tigray region has left up to seven million people in dire need of food and support. other aids.

He said the conflict had spread to neighbors Afar and Amhara, further increasing needs and complicating response efforts.

Aid is not reaching the area “at a level close to the levels needed,” he said, and communications, electricity and other basic services remain cut off.

WHO and its partners are calling for unhindered access to affected regions, as the lives of millions of people are at stake, Ghebreyesus told reporters.

He said: “People with chronic illnesses die from lack of food and medicine. Almost 200,000 children have gone without critical vaccination.

“When people don’t have enough food they are more susceptible to deadly diseases, as well as the threat of starvation, and this is what we are now seeing in Tigray.”

Source: NAN

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