The World Health Organization (WHO) said the number of Covid related deaths has fallen by 95 percent this year, but the virus is still on the move. Covid-19 is here to stay and countries will have to learn how to deal with it, the body said.
WHO chief Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus says “We are very encouraged by the sustained decline in reported Covid-19 deaths, which have fallen by 95 percent since the beginning of this year”.
He warned that some countries are seeing an increase and 14,000 people have lost their lives to the disease in the last four weeks. And as the emergence of the new XBB.1.16 variant shows, the virus is still changing and is still capable of causing new waves of disease and death.
The WHO chief reiterated that the health agency remains hopeful of declaring the end of Covid-19 as a public health emergency of international concern.
“But this virus is here to stay and all countries will have to learn to manage it along with other infectious diseases,” he said.
we need proper precautions even after covid rates down
Long Covid warning, Tedros said an estimated one in 10 infections resulted in long Covid. All countries must address “barriers to immunization, whether it’s access, availability, cost or misinformation,” he said.
Maria Van Kerkhove, the WHO’s technical lead for Covid-19, said XBB subgroups are now dominant worldwide and require or strengthen surveillance through testing “so we can monitor the virus itself and understand what each of these mutations means”.
The knowledge could feed into vaccine formulations and inform decisions about handling the virus, she added.