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Coronavirus infections rise for first time in 7 weeks, WHO says

WHO Director General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus speaks during the opening of the 148th session of the Executive Board in Geneva
Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, Director General of the World Health Organization (WHO)

The number of new coronavirus infections globally rose last week for the first time in seven weeks, WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said on Monday.

Tedros said the rise was “disappointing but not surprising” and urged countries not to relax measures to fight the spread of the disease. He suggested that countries were hastening to loosen those measures, betting on vaccines to bring an end to the COVID-19 pandemic.

“If countries rely solely on vaccines, they are making a mistake. Basic public health measures remain the foundation of the response,” Tedros said.

He noted that Ghana and Cote d’Ivoire became the first countries on Monday to begin vaccinating people with doses supplied by COVAX, the international programme to provide vaccines for poor and middle-income countries. But he also criticised rich countries for hoarding vaccine doses.

“It’s regrettable that some countries continue to prioritise vaccinating younger healthier adults at lower risk of diseases in their own populations, ahead of health workers and older people elsewhere,” Tedros said.

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