The World Health Organisation (WHO) has said though COVID-19 cases and deaths have declined in recent weeks, the world is facing a “two-track pandemic”.
WHO Director General, Tedros Ghebreyesus, said this on Monday at a media briefing in Geneva while campaigning to get more vaccines to developing countries.
Ghebreyesus said unequal distribution of vaccines had allowed COVID-19 to continue spreading, thus increasing odds of a variant emerging that could render these treatments ineffective.
“Inequitable vaccination is a threat to all nations, not just those with the fewest vaccines,” he warned.
As of Monday, there were more than 173 million confirmed cases of COVID-19 globally, including 3.7 million deaths.
The director-general reported that new cases had dropped for six weeks and deaths for five weeks.
Despite these encouraging signs, he said progress remains “a mixed picture” as last week, deaths rose in Africa, the Americas and the Western Pacific.
“Increasingly, we see a two-track pandemic: many countries still face an extremely dangerous situation, while some of those with the highest vaccination rates are starting to talk about ending restrictions.”
He advised caution in lifting restrictions, given the increased global transmission of variants of concern, as consequences could be disastrous for those not yet inoculated.
Many countries at present still lack sufficient vaccines; so far, nearly 44% of doses have been administered in wealthy countries while the figure is just 0.4% in poor nations.
The UN has been pressing governments to share their excess doses to the global vaccine equity initiative -COVAX while several countries have pledged donations, which Ghebreyesus hoped will soon be fulfilled.
The WHO chief recently called for a global push to vaccinate at least 10% of the world’s population by September, and 30% by December.