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Global COVID-19 death toll exceeds 4 million: WHO

Xinhua | Updated: 2021-07-08 09:24
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Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, director-general of the World Health Organization, addresses the 74th World Health Assembly in Geneva, Switzerland, May 24, 2021. [Photo/Xinhua]

GENEVA - The World Health Organization (WHO) on Wednesday said that it has recorded over four million COVID-19-related deaths globally, but the organization's Director-General, Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, added that the overall death toll is likely underestimated.

"Compounded by fast moving variants and shocking inequity in vaccination, far too many countries in every region of the world are seeing sharp spikes in cases and hospitalization," he said during a virtual press conference, adding that "this is leading to an acute shortage of oxygen and treatments, and driving a wave of deaths in parts of Africa, Asia and Latin America."

He stressed that "vaccine nationalism, where a handful of nations have taken the lion's share, is morally indefensible and an ineffective public health strategy against a respiratory virus that is mutating quickly and becoming increasingly effective at moving from human-to-human."

He also pointed out that "at this stage in the pandemic, the fact that millions of health and care workers have still not been vaccinated is abhorrent."

The WHO chief referred the upcoming meeting of G20 (Group of Twenty) Finance Ministers and Central Bank Governors later this week as another crucial opportunity, urging world leaders to take urgent steps to provide the necessary funding to scale up the equitable manufacturing and distribution of health tools so as to end the acute stage of this pandemic.

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