The Director General, World Health Organisation (WHO), Dr Tedros Ghebreyesus, has stated that a number of vaccines are now in the third phase of clinical trials to arrest the Coronavirus pandemic.
Ghebreyesus disclosed this at a virtual news conference, Monday at the WHO Headquarters in Geneva.
The WHO boss said: “We all hope to have a number of effective vaccines that can help prevent people from infection.
“However, there’s no silver bullet at the moment and there might never be; for now, stopping outbreaks comes down to the basics of public health and disease control.
“Ghebreyesus, therefore, urged countries and international partners to focus more on testing, isolating and treating COVID-19 patients as well as tracing and quarantining their contacts.
“The message to people and governments is clear: do it all. For individuals, it’s about keeping physical distance, wearing a mask, cleaning hands regularly and coughing safely away from others. Do it all,” he appealed.
According to him, if we act together today, we can save lives, we can save livelihoods, if we do it all together.
He also told journalists that the Emergency Committee on COVID-19 met on Friday and reviewed the current pandemic.
“It was a sobering moment coming six months on from when the committee advised. And, I agreed that the outbreak constituted a Public Health Emergency of International Concern. At the time, January 30, there were fewer than 100 cases and no deaths outside of China.
“When the Committee met three months ago, three million cases of COVID-19 had been reported to WHO, and more than 200,000 deaths. Since then, the number of cases has increased more than five-fold to 17.5 million and the number of deaths has more than tripled to 680,000,’’ the director-general said.
In addition to the direct toll COVID-19 is having, Ghebreyesus said the committee noted the health impact that disrupted services were having on a range of other diseases.
“The committee acknowledged that Member States have tough choices to make to turn the epidemic around.
“But, they were also clear that when leaders step up and work intensely with their populations, this disease can be brought under control.’’
He further said we learn everyday about this virus.“I’m pleased that the world has made progress in identifying treatments that can help people with the most serious forms of COVID-19 recover.
“The committee recommended that countries engage in the Access to COVID-19 Tools (ACT) Accelerator, participate in relevant clinical trials, and prepare for safe and effective therapeutics and vaccine introduction,’’ Ghebreyesus said.