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WHO chief optimistic that pandemic will end in 2022

WHO chief optimistic that pandemic will end in 2022

Geneva: After two years of fighting against the COVID-19 pandemic, the World Health Organisation (WHO) chief Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus has expressed optimism that the Covid-19 pandemic will be defeated in 2022, provided countries work together to contain its spread.

In his statement on new year, Ghebreyesus also warned against "narrow nationalism and vaccine hoarding."

"Narrow nationalism and vaccine hoarding by some countries have undermined equity and created the ideal conditions for the emergence of the Omicron variant.

He warned that continuing inequity in vaccine distribution was increasing the risk of the virus evolving.

"If we end inequity, we end the pandemic," he added.

His comments come two years since the WHO was first notified of cases of an unknown pneumonia strain in China.

As the omicron variant sweeps across the planet, the global tally of new coronavirus cases has for the first time passed 1 million per day on average. The previous global case record set last April has already been broken three times this week.

The US, Canada and much of Western Europe are leading the surge, with both regions seeing record-breaking levels of new coronavirus cases. The daily average number of new cases in the United States on Tuesday was more than 267,000, exceeding the previous peak set in January; Wednesday's average was higher still, at more than 300,000.

With numerous countries registering all-time highs, authorities in many places have called off celebrations to welcome in 2022, fearful that the all-conquering Omicron variant will take advantage of gatherings to spread even faster.

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