Coronavirus: ‘By no means is this over’, says WHO

(COLOMBO, LANKAPUVATH) –The World Health Organization’s Michael Ryan has said that the Covid-19 pandemic is “still evolving” and is “by no means over”.

Speaking at a press conference in Geneva Wednesday afternoon, the WHO’s emergencies director said the virus is “growing in many parts of the world” and putting pressure on health services globally.

“We see health facilities now in many, many countries coming under huge pressure and strain, maybe not in Europe, maybe not in North America, but certainly in Central and South America, certainly in other parts of the world,” he said.

“I think each and every country has a different combination of risks and opportunities at this point, and it’s really down to national authorities to carefully consider where they are in the pandemic.

“This may be a pandemic, it may be affecting the world, but it’s affecting each and every country in a different way depending on when the disease came, how the initial responses were managed and depending on how the disease is evolving at this point.”

“And by no means is this over, if we look at the numbers over the last number of weeks, this pandemic is still evolving. It is still growing in many parts of the world,” he added.

Ryan also said there is “no indication yet” if the virus will be seasonal, as is the case with the winter influenza season.

Public good

Speaking at the same press conference, WHO director general Tedros Adhanom said that political leaders should commit to making any Covid-19 vaccine “a global public good”.

Adhanom said that those who need a vaccine should be ensured of getting it.

“There should be a political commitment by political leaders to have consensus on making vaccines a global public good. If there is no political commitment and public political support to make it a global public good then we will have a problem,” he said.

UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres also last week backed the development of a “people’s vaccine” for the new coronavirus that is available to everyone globally.

Chinese President Xi Jinping has previously stated that any vaccine developed in China would be designated as a global public good. China says it has five potential vaccines already in clinical trials.

Speaking in response to a question from a South African journalist, Adhanom also said the WHO would ensure that African countries would not become a “testing ground” for Covid-19 vaccines.

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