It would be a grave mistake to think the pandemic is over

Two years after the start of this unprecedented health crisis, it would be a grave mistake to think the pandemic is over, United Nations Secretary-General António Guterres said on Wednesday.

“Two years ago, the lives of people around the globe were upended by a virus.
COVID-19 spread quickly and relentlessly into every corner of the world — shutting down economies, choking off transportation networks and supply chains, closing schools, separating people from their loved ones, and plunging millions of people into poverty.”

“The pandemic’s most tragic toll has been on the health and lives of millions, with more than 446 million cases worldwide, more than six million deaths confirmed, and countless more grappling with worsening mental health,” Mr. Guterres said. Today, thanks to “the extraordinarily rapid development and deployment of vaccines,” many regions of the world have the pandemic under control.

“But it would be a grave mistake to think the pandemic is over,” the UN chief said.

Vaccine inequality

He recalled that “the distribution of vaccines remains scandalously unequal”. While 1.5 billion doses are being produced each month, “nearly three billion people are still waiting for their first shot”. For him “this failure is the direct result of policy and budgetary decisions that prioritize the health of people in wealthy countries over the health of people in poor countries”.
“This is a moral indictment of our world. It is also a recipe for more variants, more lockdowns and more sorrow and sacrifice in every country”.
“Our world cannot afford a two-tier recovery from COVID-19,” the UN chief said. He insists on the need to reach the goal of “vaccinating 70 per cent of people in all countries by the middle of this year”.

Science and solidarity: the recipe for defeating the pandemic

“Governments and pharmaceutical companies need to work together to multiply the number of countries able to produce tests, vaccines and treatments by sharing licenses and intellectual property, and providing the necessary technological and financial support”.
This requires ”strong national vaccine-delivery systems at the ready” and fighting misinformation.
“Science and solidarity have proven to be an unbeatable combination. We must re-dedicate ourselves to ending this pandemic for all people and all countries, and closing this sad chapter in humanity’s history, once and for all,” the Secretary-General concluded.

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