The World Health Organization (WHO) Regional Director for the Eastern Mediterranean Ahmed Mandhari warned that the battle against the coronavirus is “full-fledged.”
In a teleconference held Thursday, Mandhari said: “As we enter the third year of the pandemic, we find ourselves still in the position of a full-fledged battle against the virus, despite new tools such as vaccines and treatments”.
“Vaccine inequity, vaccine hesitancy, and low levels of adherence to public health and social measures have given the virus an opportunity to forge ahead again. To overcome it, we must continue to scale up those actions that we know work, regardless of the variant” he added.
As of 8 January 2022, the Eastern Mediterranean Region has reported almost 17.5 million confirmed Covid-19 cases and more than 317,000 deaths. During the first week of 2022, a total of 206,980 newly confirmed Covid-19 cases and 1,053 deaths were reported compared to the previous week, marking a dramatic 89% increase in cases, although there has been a 13% decrease in deaths.
Mandhari indicated that the highly infectious Omicron variant has almost certainly caused this shocking increase in cases, as 15 out of 22 countries in the region have now officially reported Omicron, adding “as more and more people become infected, we need to prepare for the worst-case scenario”.
Six countries in the Region have still only vaccinated less than 10% of their populations: Afghanistan, Djibouti, Somalia, Sudan, Syria and Yemen, he said. Mandhari added these countries have enough vaccines available to protect up to 40% of their populations, calling for the necessity of vaccinating and adhering to public health measures.
Source: Jordan News Agency