Home / News / World /  Perfect conditions for deadly COVID variants..: WHO chief warns amid China virus scare
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The perfect conditions for deadly new COVID variants to emerge have arrived with countries easing reins on surveillance, testing and vaccination, the World Health Organization's chief Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said on Friday.

The UN health agency, however, noted that 90% of the world's population now has some level of immunity to the virus owing to prior infection or vaccination.

"We are much closer to being able to say that the emergency phase of the pandemic is over, but we're not there yet," Tedros told reporters during a press conference.

His comments come as China experiences a rebound in infections.

Gaps in surveillance, testing, sequencing and vaccination are continuing to create the perfect conditions for a new variant of concern to emerge that could cause significant mortality, he said and further added, “Gaps in surveillance, testing, sequencing and vaccination are continuing to create the perfect conditions for a new variant of concern to emerge that could cause significant mortality."

One year since Omicron emerged

Last week noted the one year of Omicron. Pointing out the same, the WHO chief said, “Omicron has proved to be significantly more transmissible than Delta, and continues to cause significant mortality due to the intensity of transmission"

“Since its emergence, it has continued to evolve. Today, there are over 500 sublineages of Omicron circulating"

And though it seems to cause less serious infection and people tend to take it lightly, WHO chief warns against that approach. "The number of weekly COVID19 deaths reported to WHO has declined slightly over the past 5 weeks, but over 8,500 people lost their lives last week – which is not acceptable three years into the pandemic, when we have so many tools to prevent infections and save lives"

Who advises all to focus on COVID vaccination

Meanwhile, addressing the global gaps in vaccination, WHO's technical lead Maria Van Kerkhove said that the agency wants governments around the world, including in China, to focus on reaching those at risk such as people over the age of 60 and those with underlying conditions.

The further easing of COVID-19 testing requirements and quarantine rules in some Chinese cities was met with a mix of relief and worry on Friday, as hundreds of millions await an expected shift in national virus policies after widespread social unrest.

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