After a year marked by government curbs, people across the world are slowly rushing to the hairdressers, theaters, pubs, gyms and stores, as some of pandemic restrictions are lifted.
As countries gradually lift COVID-19 curbs, however, the World Health Organization (WHO) is warning that this could see surge in variants even as lifting restrictions too quickly could turn ‘disastrous’ for the unvaccinated population.
“With the increased global transmission of variants of concern including the Delta variant, lifting restrictions too quickly could be disastrous for those who are not vaccinated,” said WHO Director-General Dr Tedros Ghebreyesus.
The Director-General has also issued a warning about the unequal distribution of vaccines citing that it has allowed the virus to continue spreading, thus increasing odds of a variant emerging that could render these treatments ineffective adding that “inequitable vaccination is a threat to all nations, not just those with the fewest vaccines.”
As of Monday, June 7, there were more than 173 million confirmed cases of COVID-19 globally with about 3.7 million total fatalities.
The Director-General said despite new cases dropping for six weeks, and deaths for five weeks, 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 said.
Meanwhile, many countries still lack sufficient vaccines. So far, nearly half of Coronavirus doses have been administered in rich countries while poorer nations share remains under one per cent of jabs administered.
At the same time, the United Nations has been pressing governments to share their excess doses to the global vaccine equity initiative, COVAX.
The WHO chief recently called for a global push to vaccinate at least 10 per cent of the world’s population by September, and 30 per cent by December.
To achieve this goal, an additional 250 million doses are needed with 100 million required in June and July alone.
“These seven nations have the power to meet these targets. I am calling on the G7 not just to commit to sharing doses, but to commit to sharing them in June and July,” he said while imploring G7 leaders who are meeting this week.