21 Dec WHO: New variant of virus in South Africa, UK
The World Health Organization (WHO) Monday disclosed that there have been new variants of the covid-19 virus in South Africa and United Kingdom.
Stating that the virus seems to be mutating over time, the WHO further disclosed that it is more likely to cause severe disease or death.
The WHO Director-General, Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, made this known Monday during a media briefing.
He said, “In the past few days, there have been reports of new variants of the COVID-19 virus in South Africa and the United Kingdom. Viruses mutate over time; that’s natural and expected. The UK has reported that this new variant transmits more easily but there is no evidence so far that it is more likely to cause severe disease or mortality.
“WHO is working with scientists to understand how these genetic changes affect how the virus behaves. The bottom line is that we need to suppress transmission of all SARS-CoV-2 viruses as quickly as we can. The more we allow it to spread, the more opportunity it has to change.
“I can’t stress enough – to all governments and all people – how important it is to take the necessary precautions to limit transmission.”
Ghebreyesus further revealed that $4.6bn additional funding will be needed in the year 2021 to purchase COVID-19 vaccines for at least 20 percent of the population of all low and lower-middle income countries.
He said, “Last week, we announced that the COVAX Facility – which is backed by 190 countries and economies – has secured access to nearly two billion doses of promising vaccine candidates.
“In early 2021, US$ 4.6 billions in additional funding will be needed to purchase COVID-19 vaccines for at least 20 percent of the population of all low and lower-middle income countries. This will ensure health workers and those at highest risk of severe disease are vaccinated, which is the fastest way to stabilise health systems and economies and stimulate a truly global recovery.
“The hundred-hundred initiative of WHO, UNICEF and the World Bank aims to support 100 countries to conduct rapid readiness assessments and develop country-specific plans within 100 days for vaccines and other COVID-19 tools.
“89 countries have already completed the assessments and our teams are working around the clock to ensure that governments and health systems are ready for global vaccine rollout. WHO has also released a new training course for health workers on COVID-19 vaccination, which is available at OpenWHO.org.
“Vaccines will help to end the pandemic, but the effects of COVID-19 will continue to be felt for many years to come.”