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Covid: WHO chief says world can bring pandemic under control within months

Reuters/Geneva
Filed on April 19, 2021
Persons over 60 years wait in observation after receiving their second dose of Covid vaccine at the University Olympic Stadium in Mexico City. — AP

Emergency panel recommends against requiring vaccination proof for travel


The world has the means to bring the global Covid-19 pandemic under control in the coming months, the head of the World Health Organization (WHO) said on Monday, urging a fair and equitable sharing of global resources.

But global climate change activist Greta Thunberg, joining the daily WHO news briefing from Sweden as a guest, took a swipe at “vaccine nationalism” and said it was unethical that rich countries were prioritising their younger citizens for vaccination ahead of vulnerable groups in developing countries.

“We have the tools to bring this pandemic under control in a matter of months, if we apply them consistently and equitably,” the head of WHO, Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, said.

However, he also expressed concern over the “alarming rate” at which Covid-19 is spreading in those aged 25-59 worldwide, possibly due to much more contagious variants.

“It took nine months to reach one million deaths; 4 months to reach 2 million, and 3 months to reach 3 million.”

Thunberg said that whereas one in four people in high-income countries had now been vaccinated against Covid-19, only one in more than 500 people in poorer countries had received a shot.

“Vaccine nationalism is what is running the vaccine distribution,” she said,

Earlier, the WHO Emergency Committee recommended that proof of vaccination not be required as a condition of international travel, maintaining its stance on the issue under growing debate.

The independent experts, in a statement issued after meeting last Thursday, cited limited evidence on whether vaccination against Covid-19 reduces people’s ability to transmit the virus and “the persistent inequity in global vaccine distribution”.

States should recognise that requiring proof of vaccination deepens inequities and promotes unequal freedom of movement, the panel said.





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