2 min read.Updated: 03 May 2021, 08:54 PM ISTAgencies
Highlighting the need to ramp up vaccination worldwide, WHO chief added that the global COVAX programme needs $35 billion to $45 billion to vaccinate adults next year against COVID-19
The head of the World Health Organization, Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus –who has become the face of the agency's battle against the pandemic – said in a press conference today that more cases of COVID-19 have been reported globally in the past two weeks than during the first six months of the pandemic.
Highlighting the need to ramp up vaccination worldwide, Tedros added that the global COVAX programme needs $35 billion to $45 billion to vaccinate adults next year against COVID-19.
Meanwhile, WHO is seeking to fill the gap left in the COVAX dose-sharing programme by India suspending exports of AstraZeneca doses and is in talks with donors including the United States, senior WHO officials said on Monday.
"In the next few months we do not expect Serum (Institute of India) to be able to supply the kind of (doses) originally predicted," WHO chief scientist Soumya Swaminathan told a news conference.
Bruce Aylward, a WHO senior adviser, said there was no firm date for resumption of Indian vaccine exports amid its COVID-19 crisis.
As many as 3,68,147 more people tested positive for Covid-19 in the last 24 hours, taking the cumulative caseload to 1,99,25,604, said the Indian health ministry on Monday morning.
Also, as per reports, the WHO chief will run for a second term. The 56-year-old former Ethiopian health minister and minister of foreign affairs has not said publicly whether or not he plans to seek another term.
But an unnamed source close to Tedros told the US health news site that the director-general intends to stand for re-election when his term expires next year.
When contacted by AFP, the WHO did not say whether Tedros would indeed run for a second term, only that the nomination period opened last month.
"Member states may nominate candidates between now and September," the agency said in an email.
"All proposals are sent in sealed envelopes to the Chair of the Executive Board and are strictly confidential until opened in due course," it added.
Tedros was elected as the head of WHO in 2017, becoming the first African to ever take the helm of the UN health agency.
WHO director-generals may serve a maximum of two five-year terms, and must be elected by WHO member states each time.
Tedros was thrust onto the global stage with a number of high-profile health emergencies -- most notably the Covid pandemic, but also several fresh Ebola outbreaks in the Democratic Republic of Congo and in West Africa.
The WHO has found itself at the heart of efforts to coordinate the global pandemic response.
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