As several countries like Denmark and France have decided to lift several or all their health restrictions despite the high daily new case toll, this Tuesday February 1, 2022, the World Health Organization reminded at a press brief it was too soon to declare victory over the pandemic. “It’s premature for any country either to surrender, or to declare victory”, WHO Director General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said.
Faced with Denmark’s decision to lift all restrictions including facemask-wearing and health pass, maintaining their vaccine coverage is strong enough against the Omicron variant, less deadly that the previous ones, WHO emergencies chief Michael Ryan shared his worries whilst more countries are willing to follow this example.
As for Maria Van Kerkhove managing the technical lead on Covid-19 at the WHO, she also warned against a too-hasty easing of measures. “We are urging caution because many countries have not gone through the peak of Omicron yet. Many countries have low levels of vaccination coverage with very vulnerable individuals within their populations. And so now is not the time to lift everything all at once. We have always urged, always (be) very cautious, in applying interventions as well as lifting those interventions in a steady and in a slow way, piece by piece. Because this virus is quite dynamic”, she said.
Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus also added: “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 […] so vaccines may need to evolve”.