Big mistake for countries to think COVID-19 danger has passed: WHO chief

At least 10% population of all countries should be vaccinated by September-end, WHO Director-General Tedros said at closing ceremony of 74th World Health Assembly

By DTE Staff
Published: Tuesday 01 June 2021
Would be big mistake for countries to think COVID-19 danger has passed, said WHO chief. Photo: WHO

The novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19) cases have continued to decline globally, but it would be a monumental error for any country to think the danger has passed, World Health Organization (WHO) Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus cautioned at the closing ceremony of the 74th World Health Assembly.

The theme of the Assembly was ending this pandemic, preventing the next: building together a healthier, safer and fairer world.

He urged the countries to proactively vaccinate their populations; at least 10 per cent population of all countries should be vaccinated by the end of September, and at least 30 per cent by the end of 2021, he said.

He added:

At present, pathogens have greater power than the WHO. They are emerging more frequently in a planet out of balance. They exploit our interconnectedness and expose our inequities and divisions… The defining characteristic of the pandemic is the lack of sharing: of data, information, pathogens, technologies and resources.

The 194 Member States of the Assembly decided to meet again in November 2021 to consider developing a WHO global agreement on the need for a coordinated approach on preparedness and response to health emergencies.

Ghebreyesus also raised the need for a sustainable funding, saying “we cannot pay people with praise.”

The member states agreed on a resolution reaffirming WHO’s role as the directing and coordinating authority in health during emergencies and beyond, and to aid governments towards achieving resilient health systems and universal health coverage.  

It also called on member states to provide WHO with sustainable financing, while continuing their response to the pandemic and strengthening preparedness capacities.

The Assembly adopted more than 30 resolutions and decisions on diabetes, disabilities, ending violence against children, eye care, HIV, hepatitis and sexually transmitted infections, local production of medicines, malaria, neglected tropical diseases, noncommunicable diseases, nursing and midwifery, oral health, social determinants of health and strategic directions for the health and care workforce.

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