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COVID-19 crisis far from over, says WHO

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The WHO first declared on January 30 last year that the virus was a public health emergency (File)

Geneva:

The COVID-19 crisis is not over, the World Health Organization’s emergency committee said on Tuesday as it called for research into next-generation vaccines for long-term control of the pandemic.

The 19-member committee meets every three months to discuss the pandemic and make recommendations.

“While progress has been made through the growth of Covid-19 vaccines and therapeutics, analysis of the current situation and forecasting models indicate that the pandemic is far from over,” the WHO said in a statement at the four-hour virtual meeting on Friday. is far.”

The committee called for further research into reusable masks and respirators, and next-generation vaccines, diagnostics and therapeutics “for long-term control of the pandemic”.

“The use of masks, physical distancing, hand hygiene and improving ventilation of indoor spaces are critical to reducing the transmission of SARS CoV-2,” the statement stressed.

The committee said the prolonged pandemic was further complicating humanitarian emergencies, mass migration and other crises. So states should revise their preparedness and response plans.

It raised concerns about Africa’s challenges in dealing with the pandemic, including access to vaccines, testing and treatments, as well as collecting and analyzing data to monitor the evolution of the pandemic.

According to AFP calculations, only 14 vaccine doses have been given per 100 people in Africa.

In the United States and Canada the figure is at 128 doses; 113 in Europe; 106 in Latin America and the Caribbean; 103 in Oceania; 102 in Asia; and 78 in the Middle East.

The committee first declared on 30 January last year that the virus was a Public Health Emergency of International Concern (PHEIC) – the highest alarm the WHO may sound.

The committee emphasized that proof of vaccination should not be required for international travel or should be the only condition for it “given the limited global reach and uneven distribution of Covid-19 vaccines”.

Instead countries should consider a “risk-based approach to facilitating international travel by lifting or modifying measures such as testing and/or quarantine requirements when appropriate”.

The committee also called on countries to recognize all vaccines that have been approved for emergency use by the WHO.

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

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