The World Health Organisation Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus on Monday said it was not right to assume that Omicron was the last variant of coronavirus or that the world was in the “endgame” of this pandemic, AP reported.
However, he said that the acute stage of the pandemic could end this year if primary targets to eradicate the disease are met.
Adhanom Ghebreyesus’ statement coincided with what the health body’s Europe chief Hans Kluge said. Kluge had said it was possible that Europe was “moving towards a kind of pandemic endgame”, AFP reported.
Kluge, however, cautioned that it was still too early to consider Covid-19 an endemic.
When a disease becomes endemic, it has a usual prevalence among a population in a particular geographical area, according to the United States’ Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. In contrast, the pandemic refers to an increase in the number of cases of a disease, often suddenly and above normal, that is spread in several countries.
On Monday, Adhanom Ghebreyesus said that there were several scenarios in which the pandemic could play out, AP reported. “But it’s dangerous to assume that Omicron will be the last variant or that we are in the endgame,” he said at a WHO executive board meeting.
He added that Covid-19 could cease to be a global health emergency if 70% of the population of every country is fully vaccinated by June.
“It’s true that we will be living with Covid for the foreseeable future and that we will need to learn to manage it through a sustained and integrated system for acute respiratory diseases to help prepare for future pandemics,” he said.
Adhanom Ghebreyesus also said that it was important to increase funding to avoid a health crisis.
“Let me put it plainly: If the current funding model continues, WHO is being set up to fail,” he said. “The paradigm shift in world health that is needed now must be matched by a paradigm shift in funding the world’s health organisation.”