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WHO chief warns lifting Covid curbs too quickly can be disastrous, many countries still face dangerous situation

World Health Organization (WHO) Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus attends a news conference in Geneva. (REUTERS)Premium
World Health Organization (WHO) Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus attends a news conference in Geneva. (REUTERS)

Speaking at a press conference, Tedros also said that glaring COVID-19 vaccine inequality has created a 'two-track pandemic' with Western countries protected and poorer nations still exposed

World Health Organization head Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said on Monday cautioned that with the increased global transmission of variants of concern including the Delta variant, lifting restrictions too quickly could be disastrous for those who are not vaccinated.

Speaking at a press conference, Tedros also said that glaring COVID-19 vaccine inequality has created a "two-track pandemic" with Western countries protected and poorer nations still exposed.

"We see two-track pandemic; many countries still face extremely dangerous situation, while those with highest vaccination rates are starting to talk about ending restrictions, but they must be eased cautiously, with viral circulation&response capacities," the WHO chief said.

"Increasingly, we see a two-track pandemic," Tedros told reporters during a press conference from Geneva. "Six months since the first COVID-19 vaccines were administered, high-income countries have administered almost 44% of the world's doses. Low-income countries have administered just 0.4%. The most frustrating thing about this statistic is that it hasn't changed in months."

Tedros also hopes African COVID-19 vaccine manufacturing sites will be identified and some even close to producing by the end of 2021, in the race to deliver more shots to the continent.

While Tedros did not provide specifics on which country, Reuters has reported that Senegal could begin producing COVID-19 vaccines next year under an agreement with Belgian biotech group Univercells aimed at boosting Africa's drug-manufacturing ambitions.

Tedros also called on companies including Pfizer and Moderna whose vaccines rely on so-called mRNA technology to share their knowledge with the WHO's COVID-19 Technology Access Pool, which aims to help speed up transfer of vital pandemic-fighting technologies.


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