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World Health Organization (WHO) Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus on Tuesday urged countries to maintain surveillance of Covid-19 infections, saying we are "blind" to how the virus is spreading because of falling testing rates.

At a press conference at the UN agency's headquarters in Geneva, the head of the WHO said, "As many countries reduce testing, WHO is receiving less & less information about transmission and sequencing." 

He added, "This makes us increasingly blind to patterns of transmission and evolution."

Meanwhile, the WHO's emergency committee on Covid-19 has unanimously affirmed that the virus remains a major public health danger and insisted that countries must stop dropping their guard.

With many nations relaxing public health and social measures, and drastically reducing testing for the virus, the World Health Organization's group of experts said the pandemic was far from being at an end.

"Now is not the time to let our guard down -- on the contrary, and this is an extremely strong recommendation," committee chair Didier Houssin told a press conference.

"The situation is far from over with regard to the Covid-19 pandemic, the circulation of the virus is still very active, mortality remains high and the virus is evolving in an unpredictable way," the French doctor warned.

"Now is not the time for relaxation on this virus, nor weakness in surveillance, testing and reporting, nor laxity in public and social health measures and no resignation when it comes to vaccination."

The committee meets every three months to discuss the pandemic and reports to the WHO chief.

It concluded that the pandemic still constitutes a public health emergency of international concern (PHEIC) -- the highest level of alert that the WHO can sound.

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