The World Health Organization issued a warning on Wednesday that a “toxic mix” of low vaccination coverage and low testing rates was creating a breeding ground for new Covid-19 variants.
The WHO stated that measures to halt the globally dominant Delta variant would also impede Omicron, which was discovered in southern Africa in November and has since alarmed countries around the world.
WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus urged countries to improve public health and social measures to combat the spread of Covid-19.
He also stated that nations must ensure that high-risk and vulnerable people are fully vaccinated “immediately.”
Tedros emphasised that, while the world’s attention is focused on Omicron, the world is already dealing with the “highly transmissible, dangerous” Delta variant, which “accounts for almost all cases” globally.
“We must use the tools we already have to prevent Delta transmission and save lives.” And if we do that, we will also prevent Omicron transmission and save lives,” Tedros said at a press conference.
“However, if countries and individuals do not take the necessary steps to halt Delta transmission, they will not be able to halt Omicron transmission either.”
“Around the world, we have a toxic mix of low vaccine coverage and very low testing, which is a recipe for breeding and amplifying variants.”
“That is why we continue to urge countries around the world to… ensure equitable access to vaccines, tests, and therapeutics.”