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Covid-19 deaths still unacceptably high: WHO

Global Covid-19 deaths are still “unacceptably” high notwithstanding the fact that they have been on a decline for the past six weeks, World Health Organisation (WHO) has said.

Of the over 219 million Covid-19 cases recorded across the globe above 4.5 million of them are fatalities.

As of 17 October 2021, Zimbabwe had 132 368 confirmed cases, including 126 308 recoveries and 4 658 deaths.

To date, over 2.4 million people have been fully vaccinated against Covid-19 in the country.

Speaking during the Access to Covid-19 Tools (ACT) Accelerator Facilitation Council meeting on Friday, WHO director-general, Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said while Covid-19 deaths were declining, they were still very high.

“The number of weekly reported deaths from Covi-19 has been declining for the past six weeks, and is now at the lowest level in almost a year,” said Ghebreyesus.

“This is welcome news, but the number of people dying is still unacceptably high – almost 50,000 deaths a week, and the real number is certainly higher.”

He further said: “And of course, deaths are highest in the countries and populations with the least access to vaccines. As you know, 56 countries who were effectively excluded from the global vaccine marketplace were not able to reach the target of vaccinating 10% of their populations by the end of September – most of them in Africa.”

The WHO chief said even more countries were at risk of missing the 40% vaccination target by the end of this year.

“We also run the risk of missing our other targets of achieving minimum testing rates of 1 per 1000 people; and ensuring all those who need it have access to medical oxygen, treatments and PPE,” Ghebreyesus said.

“Support for the ACT Accelerator is needed urgently if we are to achieve these targets. The ACT Accelerator Strategic Review was published last week, recommending that its mandate continue into 2022, but also highlighting areas for strengthening and development.”

WHO, he said, welcomes the recommendations of the review and is committed to working with its partners to strengthen the ACT Accelerator.

“The new Strategy and Budget, which will be presented today (Friday), sets out the actions and resources needed to achieve our targets,” explained Ghebreyesus.

“But nothing can be done without the support of countries and without you, our Facilitation Council. A fully-funded ACT Accelerator is a global health security imperative. Without it, millions of people will continue to miss out on vaccines, tests and treatments globally, the pandemic will be prolonged and more lives will be lost.”

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