The World Health Organisation (WHO) says almost 90 million COVID cases have been reported worldwide since the Omicron variant was identified, which is greater than the number recorded in 2020.
This was disclosed by the WHO director-general, Tedros Ghebreyesus at a virtual media briefing on Tuesday.
“Since Omicron was first identified just 10 weeks ago, almost 90 million cases have been reported to WHO — more than were reported in the whole of 2020,” he said.
According to a data released by the WHO, 4,275,794 cases of COVID were recorded as of the last week of 2020.
The director-general said the organisation is concerned that while deaths from the virus are increasing, countries are beginning to find it unnecessary to prevent transmission.
“We are now starting to see a very worrying increase in deaths in most regions of the world,” he said.
“We’re concerned that a narrative has taken hold in some countries that because of vaccines, and because of Omicron’s high transmissibility and lower severity, preventing transmission is no longer possible, and no longer necessary.”
“Nothing could be further from the truth. More transmission means more deaths. We are not calling for any country to return to so-called lockdown. But we are calling on all countries to protect their people using every tool in the toolkit, not vaccines alone.”
“This virus is dangerous, and it continues to evolve before our very eyes. WHO is currently tracking four sub-lineages of the Omicron variant of concern, including BA.2.”
“This virus will continue to evolve, which is why we call on countries to continue testing, surveillance and sequencing. We can’t fight this virus if we don’t know what it’s doing, and we must continue to work to ensure all people have access to vaccines.”