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Covid-19: WHO urges countries to continue testing and vaccinating

The World Health Organisation (WHO) has urged countries across the globe to continue vaccinating and testing their populations for Covid-19 despite a decline in cases.

Zimbabwe has as of June 1, 2022, recorded a total of 252 874 confirmed cases, including 244 560 recoveries and 5 507 deaths.  A total of 6 231 190 people received their Covid-19 first doses while the figure for the fully vaccinated stands at over 4, 5 million.

“Reported cases and deaths from Covid-19 continue to decline globally, although this trend should be interpreted with caution because many countries have reduced the number of tests they do, which in turn reduces the number of cases they find,” said WHO director-general Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus while briefing the media Wednesday.

“And we do see concerning trends in several regions. Reported cases and deaths are increasing in the Americas, while deaths are also increasing in the Western Pacific region and in Africa.”

The WHO chief said there were no indications yet that the pandemic could be over anytime soon.

“Once again, the pandemic is not over,” emphasized Ghebreyesus.

“We continue to call on all countries to maintain testing and sequencing services, to give us a clearer picture of where the virus is spreading, and how it’s changing. And we call on all countries to vaccinate all health workers, older people, and other at-risk groups.”

Meanwhile, more than 550 confirmed cases of monkeypox have now been reported to WHO, from 30 countries that are not endemic to the virus.

“Investigations are ongoing, but the sudden appearance of monkeypox in many countries at the same time suggests there may have been undetected transmission for some time,” said Ghebreyesus.

“So far, most cases have been reported among men who have sex with men presenting with symptoms at sexual health clinics. These communities are working hard to inform their members about the risks of monkeypox and prevent transmission. But all of us must work hard to fight stigma, which is not just wrong, it could also prevent infected individuals from seeking care, making it harder to stop transmission.”

The global health authority, Ghebreyesus said, was urging affected countries to widen their surveillance, to look for cases in the broader community.

“Anyone can be infected with monkeypox if they have close physical contact with someone else who is infected,” said the WHO chief.

“The situation is evolving, and we expect that more cases will continue to be found.

It’s important to remember that generally, monkeypox symptoms resolve on their own, but can be severe in some cases. WHO continues to receive updates on the status of ongoing monkeypox outbreaks in the countries in Africa where the virus is endemic.”

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