WHO Director-General’s opening remarks at Member State Information Session on COVID-19 – 27 August 2021

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27 August 2021 Speech
WHO Director-General’s opening remarks at Member State Information Session on COVID-19 – 27 August 2021
…We are now seeing more than 650 thousand new cases a day.
Of course, the situation remains very different around the world, with steep increases and overwhelmed hospitals in some regions and countries, and welcome declines in others.
There are no shortcuts. The Secretariat continues to recommend a comprehensive, risk-based approach of proven public health and social measures, in combination with equitable vaccination.
Our global targets are to support every country to vaccinate at least 10% of its population by the end of September, at least 40% by the end of this year, and 70% of the world’s population by the middle of next year.
We are making progress. Globally, 140 countries have vaccinated at least 10% of their populations. But in many parts of the world, vaccination coverage is still under two percent. This is unacceptable.
That is why we have called for a global moratorium on booster doses at least until the end of September.
Our 10% target is still achievable, but only if all Member States work together in solidarity. The Secretariat is working directly with producers, countries with high vaccination levels, and producing countries, to solve this problem.
Between now and the end of the year, we expect the volume of vaccines to increase substantially. That makes it crucial that all countries step up their preparations to roll out vaccines.
Just as the pandemic has highlighted the need for improved mechanisms to share vaccines, it has also shown that the world needs better systems for collecting, analyzing and sharing information on pandemic and epidemic threats.
Currently, WHO assesses 4,500 events every month for epidemic and pandemic risk. With the availability of new technologies and the fast-moving global information landscape, we have an opportunity to identify and understand risks much more quickly and comprehensively…

25 August 2021 Speech
WHO Director-General’s opening remarks at the media briefing on COVID-19 – 25 August 2021

24 August 2021 Remarks
Director-General’s opening remarks at the Seventy-first session of the Regional Committee for Africa
…But I don’t need to tell you that the distribution of vaccines has been terribly unfair. We’re all disappointed by the injustice.
More than 4.8 billion doses of vaccine have been administered globally. Just 87 million doses have been administered in the African region – less than 2 percent of the global total.
Globally, 140 countries have vaccinated at least 10% of their populations, but in our continent, only four countries have been able to reach that target, owing to the shocking disparity in access to vaccines.
WHO’s global targets are to support every country to vaccinate at least 10% of its population by the end of September, at least 40% by the end of this year, and 70% of the world’s population by the middle of next year.
WHO and our partners are doing everything we can to find ways of scaling up production as much as possible, as fast as possible, as Tshidi said.
More than 44 million doses have been distributed to 40 AFRO countries through COVAX, and we’re pleased to see that COVAX is picking up speed. More doses were shipped in July than in the previous 5 months. COVAX aims to deliver around 475 million more doses in the region by the end of December.
I also recognize and congratulate the African Union’s African Vaccine Acquisition Trust, AVAT, which was established under the leadership of President Ramaphosa. This will be a very innovative and important complement to COVAX for achieving our targets, and we are committed to working with African Union Special Envoy Strive Masiyiwa to make AVAT a success. Africa should invest in this continental initiative.
I’m pleased that the first shipments started this month, using Johnson & Johnson vaccines that were filled in Africa. We have also made progress towards increasing production in Africa, through the recent establishment of a technology transfer hub for mRNA vaccines in South Africa, and through our work with many countries including Rwanda and Senegal to boost local production.
Between now and the end of the year, we expect the volume of vaccines coming to Africa to increase substantially. That makes it crucial that all countries step up their preparations to roll out vaccines.
The vaccine crisis illustrates the fundamental weakness at the root of the pandemic: the lack of global solidarity and sharing – sharing of information and data, biological samples, resources, technology and tools.
That’s why there is now an emerging global consensus for the idea of an international treaty or other legal instrument, to provide the basis for improved international cooperation to prepare for, detect and respond to epidemics and pandemics. At the World Health Assembly in May, Member States agreed to discuss this idea at a Special Session of the Assembly in November.
We seek the support of all African Member States for this very important initiative….

 

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Weekly operational update on COVID-19 – 23 August 2021
Overview
In this edition of the COVID-19 Weekly Operational Update, highlights of country-level actions and WHO support to countries include:
Restoring essential health services in Haiti post-earthquake
Strengthening Infection Prevention Control with the Georgian ambulance service
Delivering critical health services in Afghanistan
Lao People’s Democratic Republic receives 616,820 doses of the COVID-19 vaccine through the COVAX facility
All-women teams trek miles to vaccinate in Meghalaya, India
Progress on a subset of indicators from the SPRP 2021 Monitoring and Evaluation Framework
Updates on WHO’s financing to support countries in SPRP 2021 implementation and provision of critical supplies

Weekly epidemiological update on COVID-19 – 24 August 2021
Overview
With over 4.5 million new cases reported this week (16-22 August), the number of new cases reported globally seems to be plateauing after increasing for nearly two months (since mid-June). The Regions of the Americas and Western Pacific reported an increase in new cases in the past week, 8% and 20% respectively. Globally, the number of deaths reported this week remained similar to last week, with over 68 000 new deaths reported. Two Regions, Europe and the Americas, reported an increase in new deaths, 11% and 10% respectively. As of the 22 August, the cumulative number of cases reported globally is now over 211 million and the cumulative number of deaths is just over 4.4 million.

In this edition, one special focus update is provided:
:: A detailed description of the phenotypic characteristics (transmissibility, disease severity, and vaccine effectiveness) of SARS-CoV-2 Variants of Concern (VOCs) Alpha, Beta, Gamma and Delta. It also includes updates on the geographic distribution of VOCs.