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It will no longer be each country for itself, says WHO

The World Health Organization's (WHO) member nations have decided to begin developing a worldwide agreement to avoid and respond to the next global pandemic. Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, the organization's director-general, called it as a "momentous day" and noted that "the importance of this decision cannot be emphasized" during a briefing on Thursday. He compared it to previous global accords on tobacco control, nuclear and biological weapons, and climate change.New variant Omicron has now been detected in 23 countries as <a class=WHO head Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus thanks SA for detecting, sequencing and sharing info on it."/>

"This is a clear signal that health security is too critical to risk," he added. "The Covid-19 pandemic has highlighted numerous flaws in the global system for pandemic preparedness: the most vulnerable people going without vaccines; health workers lacking necessary equipment to perform life-saving work; and'me-first' approaches that stymie the global solidarity required to address a global threat," he added.

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This commitment to global collaboration was reaffirmed later in the day when the WHO condemned nations for targeting SA in order to identify, sequence, and announce the finding of the novel variety dubbed Omicron. Although the variation has been identified in 23 countries, a backlog of cases worldwide may show its prevalence in many more. "It is profoundly troubling to me that SA and Botswana are being penalized," Ghebreyesus remarked at a news conference.

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He expressed gratitude to the two nations for "detecting, sequencing, and reporting on Omicron so quickly," and said that a "blanket travel restriction would not prevent the virus's worldwide spread and will impose a significant hardship on livelihoods." "The restriction has also impacted research by limiting the shipping of samples throughout the world for in-depth laboratory examination," he said.

Dr Soumya Swaminathan, WHO's head scientist, said the discovery of the new variety was a "wake-up call" to improve immunizations, examine data, identify gaps, and rethink how we use vaccines and how we get them into the arms of those who have not been vaccinated yet. While urgent study into Omicron continues, experts have demonstrated that existing vaccination regimens are still capable of preventing serious sickness and death in the face of Omicron and are also critical in the battle against Delta, which remains the prevalent strain in many countries.

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According to WHO technical lead on Covid-19 Maria van Kerkhove, scientists in South Africa "should be recognized, and we need to increase our monitoring and sequencing efforts globally, as well as having a more geographically diverse population." "We do not want to see nations penalized for sharing information," she continued. A particular thank you to the several researchers around South Africa." "The emergence of Omicron has captivated the world's attention," Ghebreyesus writes. Twenty-three nations have reported instances to far, and the number is expected to climb. We are constantly learning more about Omicron, but there is still much more to understand about transmission and its influence on disease severity."

Kerkhove said that since the variation has been designated as a variant of concern, "the schedule will shift" as a backlog of cases is analyzed. "It is vital to be vaccinated because vaccinations save lives," she continued. Dr Michael Ryan, WHO's director of health emergencies, said that "banning planes save for domestic flights makes no epidemiological sense." "A virus has no idea what nation you are a citizen of," Ryan said. He said that nations with verified instances faced no travel restrictions, but countries with no known cases faced bans, demonstrating the utter absence of rationality in knee-jerk choices.

"Healthcare personnel are tired of counting the dead and losing friends," he continued. He said that the Delta variety remained the lasting issue in Europe and that it was critical for vaccine rollouts to continue apace.


It will no longer be each country for itself, says WHO (

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Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus WHO World Health Organization


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