Biden claims ‘pandemic is over’ as WHO advises vigilance

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Washington, Sep 19 (IANS) US President Joe Biden has claimed that the Covid-19 pandemic is over, as millions suffer from long Covid and several countries still bear the brunt of the global health crisis.

On the CBS ’60 Minutes’ TV show on Sunday, Biden said: “The pandemic is over. We still have a problem with Covid. We’re still doing a lot of work on it. It’s, but the pandemic is over”.

“If you notice, no one’s wearing masks,” Biden said while gesturing at the gathering. “Everybody seems to be in pretty good shape. And so I think it’s changing.”

However, the US government still designates Covid-19 as a Public Health Emergency and the World Health Organization (WHO) says it remains a Public Health Emergency of International Concern, reports CNN.

Last week, the WHO said that future coronavirus waves are expected and that governments across the world need to remain vigilant and ready to respond to any threat that may emerge.

WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said that this virus will not just fade away.

“The global decline in reported cases and deaths is continuing. This is very encouraging. But there is no guarantee these trends will persist. The most dangerous thing is to assume they will,” he said in his latest remarks.

“The number of weekly reported deaths may have dropped by more than 80 per cent since February, but even so, last week one person died with Covid-19 every 44 seconds,” Ghebreyesus emphasised.

However, he said that “ee have never been in a better position to end the pandemic”.

According to the WHO, during the week of September 5-11, the number of new weekly cases worldwide decreased by 28 per cent over the previous week to more than 3.1 million. The number of new weekly deaths was down 22 per cent to just under 11,000.

Tedros likened the pandemic response to a marathon race.

“Now is the time to run harder and make sure we cross the line and reap the rewards of all our hard work.”

Even as the pandemic wanes, people should maintain high levels of vigilance, said Mike Ryan, executive director of the WHO’s Health Emergencies Programme.

The world is fighting “a highly mutable evolving virus that has shown us, time and time again in two-and-a-half years, how it can adapt and how it can change”, Ryan added.

“Most of those deaths are avoidable. You might be tired of hearing me say the pandemic is not over. But I will keep saying it until it is. This virus will not just fade away,” he added.

–IANS

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