“Blood on Your Hands” if the world now steps back on tackling Covid: WHO

“Blood on Your Hands” if the world now steps back on tackling Covid: WHO

The WHO official said that if rich countries think the pandemic is over, they should help low-income countries.

London:

A senior World Health Organization official told Reuters that if rich countries think the pandemic is over, they should also help low-income countries get to that point.

In an interview, WHO senior adviser Bruce Aylward warned that wealthy countries should not shy away from tackling COVID-19 as a global problem ahead of possible future waves of infections.

In the past few weeks, WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said the end of the pandemic was near, and US President Joe Biden said the pandemic was over.

“When I hear them say, ‘Well, we’re pretty comfortable here,’ it’s like, ‘Great, now you can really help us make up the rest of the world,'” Aylward said.

Aylward said the group he coordinates, which focuses on equitable access to COVID-19 vaccines, treatments and tests around the world, is not yet ready to exit the emergency phase of tackling the pandemic. And countries need to be prepared. Treatment in place for any further wave of infection.

“If you go to sleep now and this wave comes upon us in three months… God – blood on your hands,” he said.

He also stressed that Biden had a point domestically because the United States has good access to all the COVID equipment. He said it has also not cut into its global commitment to fight COVID.

Aylward coordinates the ACT-Accelerator, a partnership between the WHO and other global health bodies, to help poor countries access COVID-19 tools. The effort, which includes the vaccine-focused COVAX, has reached billions of people worldwide but has faced criticism for not acting quickly enough. There was some speculation that the effort could wind down this autumn, but Aylward said it is only turning its attention as the pandemic shifts.

Over the next six months, the partnership will aim to deliver vaccines specifically to nearly a quarter of the world’s health care workers and the elderly, who still don’t have a shot, as well as improve access to testing and treatment, especially From Pfizer’s PaxLovid, he said.

It will also look to the future as COVID is “here to stay”, and unless the system is put in place, support will collapse when other industrialized nations also think the pandemic is over, Aylward said.

There is already an $11 billion gap in the initiative’s budget, with most of its available $5.7 billion in funding pledged for vaccines rather than tests or treatments.

(Except for the title, this story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is published from a syndicated feed.)

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Indian Lekhak

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