GENEVA, July 13 — The head of the World Health Organisation said he was concerned COVID-19 cases and deaths were climbing, stretching health systems while monkeypox was also rising with 9,200 cases reported in 63 countries, reported Anadolu Agency.

“The Emergency Committee on COVID-19 met on Friday last week and concluded that the virus remains a Public Health Emergency of International Concern,” Tedros Ghebreyesus said at a media webinar on Tuesday and noted it was at the WHO’s highest alert level.

Tedros said the Committee noted its concern that sub-variants of omicron, like BA.4 and BA.5, continue to drive waves of cases, hospitalisation and death worldwide.

“Surveillance has reduced significantly — including testing and sequencing — making it increasingly difficult to assess the impact of variants on transmission, disease characteristics, and the effectiveness of countermeasures,” he said.

In addition, diagnostics, treatments, and vaccines were not deployed effectively, he said.

“The virus is running freely, and countries are not effectively managing the disease burden based on their capacity, in terms of both hospitalisation for acute cases and the expanding number of people with the post-COVID-19 condition — often referred to as long-COVID,” he added.

Globally, the WHO’s new weekly cases increased for a fourth consecutive week after declining since the last peak in March.

During the week of June 27 to July 3, more than 4.6 million cases were reported to WHO, similar to the previous week with 8,100 fatalities.

As of July 3, more than 546 million confirmed virus cases and over 6.3 million deaths had been reported globally.

Regarding monkeypox, Tedros said: “The Emergency Committee for monkeypox will reconvene next week and look at trends, how effective the countermeasures are, and make recommendations for what countries and communities should do to tackle the outbreak,” he said.


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