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Number of COVID-19 deaths lowest since March 2020, says WHO chief

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BALI, INDONESIA - AUGUST 11: A family pray for their his relative who died in COVID-19 inside a makeshift tent for mortuary in Wangaya Hospital in Denpasar, Bali, Indonesia on August 11, 2021. (Johannes P. Christo - Anadolu Agency)
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Sep 15, 2022 - 09:43 AM

GENEVA (AA) – The number of weekly reported deaths from COVID-19 is its lowest since March 2020, the World Health Organization chief said Wednesday, calling humanity to “seize this opportunity” to halt the pandemic.

WHO Director-General Tedros Ghebreyesus told journalists that now is not the time to stop fighting the novel coronavirus, which has claimed more than 6.4 million lives.

“We have never been in a better position to end the pandemic. We are not there yet, but the end is in sight,” said Tedros.

“We can see the finish line. We’re in a winning position. But now is the worst time to stop running.”

The WHO chief said it is now time to run harder and ensure crossing the line to the rewards of all the hard work fighting the disease that came to the fore in early 2020.

“If we don’t take this opportunity now, we run the risk of more variants, more deaths, more disruption, and more uncertainty,” said Tedros, urging steps to maintain the momentum.

The WHO is urging all countries to invest in vaccinating 100% of the most at-risk groups, including health workers and older people as the highest priority on the road to 70% vaccine coverage.

“Keep testing and sequencing for SARS-CoV-2 and integrate surveillance and testing services with those for other respiratory diseases, including influenza,” said Tedros.

“Make sure you have a system in place for giving patients the care that is right for them and integrate care for COVID-19 into primary health care systems.”

The WHO head said countries should plan for surges of cases and ensure they have the necessary supplies, equipment, and health workers.

They need to maintain infection prevention and control precautions to protect health workers and non-COVID patients in health facilities.

“Communicate clearly with communities about any changes you make to your COVID-19 policies and why,” said Tedros.

“Train health workers to identify and address misinformation and develop high-quality health information in digital formats.”

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