World Health Organization Director General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus on Monday said that a coronavirus vaccine alone would not end the pandemic. Continued surveillance, testing and quarantining would be needed to effectively control the crisis, he said.
“Since the beginning of the Covid-19 pandemic, we knew that a vaccine would be essential for bringing the pandemic under control,” he said in a series of tweets. “But it’s important to emphasise that a vaccine will complement the other tools we have, not replace them.”
Tedros said that we would also need to continue with surveillance, testing, isolating and caring for positive cases, tracing and quarantining contacts, engaging communities as well individuals to be more careful about the coronavirus.
The WHO chief added that the initial supply of Covid-19 vaccine would be limited, so the focus would be on inoculating health workers, the elderly and other at-risk populations. “That will hopefully reduce the number of deaths & [and] enable health systems to cope, but the virus will still have a lot [of] room to move.”
On Sunday, the United Nations’ body had recorded a new all-time high in terms of fresh cases. WHO reported 6,60,905 coronavirus cases for November 14, a new high that surpassed the previous day’s tally of 6,45,410.
The health agency on Monday recorded 5,94,000 new cases in 24 hours, taking the overall count to 5,37,66,728 cases across the globe. A total of 8,212 deaths were reported, pushing the toll to 13,08,975.
Tedros had on November 14 warned that there was “a long way to go” in getting the virus under control globally. “No country can say it was well-enough prepared for Covid-19, or that it has no lessons to learn,” Tedros said, as he closed the WHO’s annual assembly, at which member states approved a resolution on strengthening preparedness for health emergencies. He insisted that the virus could be contained even without a vaccine breakthrough.
“First, know your epidemic and do the basics well. Find, isolate, test and care for cases. Trace and quarantine their contacts,” he had said. “And second, engage and empower communities to protect themselves and others with the full range of measures: physical distance, avoiding crowds, ventilation, hand hygiene, and masks.”