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'Tsunami of Cases' from Covid-19 Variants Worries WHO’S Director-General

INTERNATIONAL: The simultaneous circulation of the Delta and Omicron variants of the coronavirus is creating a "tsunami of cases", World Health Organization (WHO) director-general Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus told a news briefing on Wednesday.

He has mentioned that Delta and Omicron are now twin threats driving up cases to record numbers, leading to spikes in hospitalisation and deaths. And he has added that he is highly concerned that Omicron, being highly transmissible and spreading at the same time as Delta, is leading to a tsunami of cases.

Tedros has repeated his call for countries to share vaccines more equitably and has warned that the emphasis on boosters in richer countries could leave poorer nations short of jabs. He has said the WHO was campaigning for every country to hit a target of 70% vaccine coverage by the middle of 2022, which would help end the acute phase of the pandemic.

This acute phase could end next year but the coronavirus will not disappear. The virus will probably settle down into a pattern of low-level transmission, causing occasional outbreaks in under-vaccinated populations.

New Year's Eve will mark the second anniversary of China alerting the WHO to 27 cases of "viral pneumonia" of unknown origin in the city of Wuhan.

More than 281 million people have since been reported to be infected by the novel coronavirus globally and more than 5 million have died.



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