'The mark of success is making sure that any cases are identified, isolated, traced and cared for as quickly as possible and onward transmission is interrupted,' says WHO chief
"I have come this time with a message for the world’s people to hear," said the head of World Health Organisation (WHO) during his speech to an International Olympic Committee (IOC) meeting in Japan.
Speaking about the Covid-19 pandemic, which has grappled the world for 19 months now, infecting and killing millions across the globe, WHO director-general Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said, "How infections are handled is what matters most."
"The mark of success is making sure that any cases are identified, isolated, traced and cared for as quickly as possible and onward transmission is interrupted," he said.
In his keynote speech at the 138th International Olympic Committee Session, Tedros, however, also mentioned a simple way to overcome the pandemic.
"I am often asked when the pandemic will end. My answer is equally simple: the pandemic will end when the world chooses to end it. We have the tools to prevent transmission, and save lives."
Tedros also added that the world's common goal must be to vaccinate 70% of the population of every country by the middle of next year.
"Our focus as a world united must be on doing everything we can to triumph over the pandemic, with determination, dedication and discipline. We are not in a race against each other; we are in a race against the virus," he said.
While speaking at the event, the WHO chief added, "The COVID-19 pandemic has taught us all many painful but important lessons. One of the most important is that when health is at risk, everything is at risk."
"The global failure to share vaccines, tests, and treatments - including oxygen - is fuelling a two-track pandemic: the haves are opening up, while the have-nots are locking down. The longer this discrepancy persists, the longer the pandemic will drag on, and so will the social and economic turmoil it brings. I have called for a massive global push to vaccinate at least 10% of the population of every country by September, at least 40% by the end of the year, and 70% by mid-next year. If we can reach those targets, we can not only end the pandemic, we can also reboot the global economy," added Tedros.
He also said that the Tokyo Olympics should go ahead to demonstrate to the world what can be achieved with the right plan and measures amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
Rising COVID-19 cases in Tokyo have cast a shadow over an event that, having already been postponed last year because of the pandemic, will now take place without spectators.
Japan this month decided that participants would compete in empty venues to minimise health risks.
More recently, WHO was also instrumental in sharing technical advice with the IOC during the discussions that led to the postponement of the Olympic Games Tokyo 2020, and continues to give advice as it gathers additional knowledge and understanding of COVID-19.
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