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WHO chief expects coronavirus pandemic to end soon

NepalKhoj Report 6 Dec, 2020

Agency: The United Nations’ health chief declared on Friday that positive results from coronavirus vaccine trials mean the world “can begin to dream about the end of the pandemic”.

But, he said rich and powerful nations must not trample the poor and marginalised “in the stampede for vaccines”, the Telegraph reported.

In an address to the UN General Assembly’s first high-level session on the pandemic, World Health Organisation Director-General Tedros Ghebreyesus cautioned that while the virus can be stopped, “the path ahead remains treacherous”.

According to the Telegraph, he said the pandemic had shown humanity at “its best and worst”, pointing to “inspiring acts of compassion and self-sacrifice. It has also revealed breathtaking feats of science and innovation, and heartwarming demonstrations of solidarity, but also disturbing signs of self-interest, blame-shifting and divisions”.

He warned that a vaccine “will not address the vulnerabilities that lie at its root” – poverty, hunger, inequality and climate change, which he said must be tackled once the pandemic ends.

“We cannot and we must not go back to the same exploitative patterns of production and consumption, the same disregard for the planet that sustains all life, the same cycle of panic and meddling and the same divisive politics that fuelled this pandemic,” he said.

On vaccines, Dr Tedros said that “the light at the end of the tunnel is growing steadily brighter” but vaccines “must be shared equally as global public goods, not as private commodities that widen inequalities and become yet another reason some people are left behind”.