The WHO can see light at the end of the pandemic tunnel

22 December 2020 | Muriel Cozier

A more transmissible mutation of covid-19 is raising concern.

The Director General of the World Health Organisation (WHO), Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, has said that the end of the pandemic is in sight, ‘but we must not let our guard down.’

His comments were made as COVAX, a ‘reservoir’ initiative backed by 190 countries to ensure equal worldwide access to a coronavirus vaccine, reached almost two billion doses of existing and candidate vaccines. The first doses of the vaccines under the initiative are due to be administered in all participating countries during the first quarter of 2021. The WHO anticipates that by the middle of 2021 enough doses will have been delivered to protect health and social cares workers in all countries that have requested it.

‘This is fantastic news and a milestone in global health,’ Ghebreyesus said during an online press conference. ‘This is time for taking comfort that the end of the pandemic is in sight, but taking care that we do not let down our guard. We are all responsible for taking measures to keep ourselves and each other safe, including during this holiday season.’

In the meantime the WHO has reported that more than 40 countries have banned flights from the UK due to concern that a more transmissible variant of covid-19 has taken hold. Health officials are stressing that there is no evidence that this new mutation is more deadly or that it would not respond to the vaccines that are now available.

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