The director-general of the World Health Organisation (WHO) has warned the Covid pandemic “is nowhere near over”, writes standard.co.uk.
Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus told world leaders not to be lulled into a false sense of security over the newly dominant Omicron variant being significantly milder than other forms of the virus.
It comes as countries across Europe saw record COVID-19 case numbers, with France reporting nearly half a million positive infections.
In the UK, Boris Johnson is expected to outline plans to ease England’s Covid rules when he makes a statement on Plan B later on Wednesday.
Speaking during a news conference at the WHO’s Geneva headquarters, Dr Tedros said the Omicron variant had resulted in 18 million new infections across the world over the past week. But he warned that while the variant may prove to be less severe on average, “the narrative that it is a mild disease is misleading”, - he said.
“Make no mistake, Omicron is causing hospitalisations and deaths, and even the less severe cases are inundating health facilities”.
He warned leaders that “with the incredible growth of Omicron globally, new variants are likely to emerge, which is why tracking and assessment remain critical”.
“I remain particularly concerned about many countries that have low vaccination rates, as people are many times more at risk of severe illness and death if they are unvaccinated”, - he added.