The World Health Organization (WHO) on Monday called on the world to pull together to end the Covid-19 pandemic within the next year.
This, as more than 3.3 million people have lost their lives to Covid-19 this year – more deaths than from HIV, malaria and tuberculosis combined in 2020, the head of the World Health Organization (WHO) said Monday.
The United Nations health agency said, “2022 must be the year we end the pandemic.”
With festivities coming at the end of the year, “all of us want to get back to normal,” said the WHO, adding that “we need to protect ourselves now.”
It is better to cancel events now and celebrate later than to celebrate now and grieve later, it said.
Since the Omicron variant was first discovered in South Africa, it has been found in dozens of countries, said the organization, noting that the new variant is not more severe than the Delta variant, but is possibly more contagious and resistant to vaccines.
On the inequity in access to vaccines, the WHO said, “if we are to end the pandemic in the coming year, we must end inequity.”
For his part, WHO Director-General Tedros Ghebreyesus said Covid-19 continues to claim around 50,000 lives worldwide every week, but he told journalists that “2022 should be the year we end the pandemic” with the tools the world has at its disposal.
Tedros was speaking at the first hybrid press conference held by the WHO for journalists from the United Nations in Geneva and the first such meeting since July 2020 that Anadolu Agency facilitated.
“The last time we hosted you, in July last year, none of us could have imagined that almost 18 months later, we would still be in the grip of the pandemic,” said the WHO chief of a meeting for journalists with the ACANU association of UN correspondents.