WHO chief Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, on Monday said that lifting COVID-19 restrictions could be disastrous for those who weren’t vaccinated, given the increased global transmission of variants including the Delta variant. Ghebreyesus also said that the vaccine inequality had created a ‘two-track' pandemic.
"We see two-track pandemic; many countries still face an extremely dangerous situation, while those with highest vaccination rates are starting to talk about ending restrictions, but they must be eased cautiously, with viral circulation and response capacities," Ghebreyesus told AP.
"Six months since the first COVID-19 vaccines were administered, high-income countries have administered almost 44 per cent of the world's doses. Low-income countries have administered just 0.4per cent. The most frustrating thing about this statistic is that it hasn't changed in months," he added.
The WHO chief called on companies including Pfizer and Moderna to share knowledge of their vaccine technology with the WHO's COVID-19 Technology Access Pool, which aims to help speed up the transfer of vital pandemic-fighting technologies.
Dr Michael Ryan, WHO’s emergencies chief, in the meantime, said that ultimately, “high levels of vaccination coverage are the way out of this pandemic”.
Ryan, when faced with a question of how the WHO will "compel" China into being more open, said that the "WHO doesn't have the power to compel anyone in this regard".
Maria Van Kerkhove, WHO’s technical lead on COVID-19 said, “worrying trends of increased transmissibility, increased social mixing, relaxing of public health and social measures, and uneven and inequitable vaccine distribution around the world.”