The Director-General of the World Health Organization (WHO), Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, has warned that the number of new Covid-19 cases globally is approaching the “highest rate of infection” that “we have seen so far in the pandemic.”
Speaking at a press briefing, Dr Tedros also averred that coronavirus cases are continuing to rise globally at “worrying” rates. He revealed that the number of new cases confirmed per week has nearly doubled during the past two months.
Tedros pointed out that countries that had been able to avoid widespread;COVID-19 outbreaks are now seeing steep increases, citing Papua New Guinea as an example.
“Until the beginning of this year, Papua New Guinea had reported less than 900 cases and nine deaths. Now, the country has now identified more than 9,000 cases and 83 deaths, half of which were reported in the last month.
“Papua New Guinea is a perfect example of why vaccine equity is so important.”
Tedros also disclosed that Papua New Guinea has relied on vaccine donations from Australia and the UN-backed COVAX initiative.
To date, COVAX has shipped about 40 million vaccines to more than 100 countries. Experts say this quantity is enough to protect about 0.25% of the world’s population.
Lift embargo to enhance vaccine production
Meanwhile, the Serum Institute of India (SII), the worlds biggest vaccine maker, has urged US President, Joe Biden to lift an embargo by the United States on the exports of raw materials needed to enhance production of Ccovid-19 vaccines.
SII Chief Executive, Adar Poonawalla also posited that the embargo is hurting the production of Covid-19 vaccines.
“…If we are to truly unite in beating this virus, on behalf of the vaccine industry outside the U.S., I humbly request you (President Biden) to lift the embargo of raw material exports out of the US so that vaccine production can ramp up.”
The SII is making the AstraZeneca jab, which accounts for more than 91 percent of the 115.5 million doses given in the country. The company has also announced it will soon start producing the Novavax vaccine.
It added that the two companies have also inked a deal to supply 1.1 billion doses of vaccine to COVAX.
The SII’s appeal comes as India confirmed over 200,000 new virus cases in 24 hours on 16th April. Amid a surge that has overwhelmed hospitals, the country has been trying to vaccinate enough people to slow the spread of the virus.
As a result, the Indian government has paused vaccine exports to other nations. The government said it only has 30 million vaccines in stock, which is expected to only last for ten days going by the country’s vaccination trend.
The country has administered the most doses in the world after the US and China, but it ranks much lower per capita. infection infection
Read Also: 35% of Ghanaians unlikely to acquire own homes with current gov’t support
Leave a Reply