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Irresponsible to say pandemic is over: China Daily editorial

chinadaily.com.cn | Updated: 2022-09-25 18:33
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Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, Director-General of the World Health Organization (WHO) speaks following his re-election during the 75th World Health Assembly at the United Nations in Geneva, Switzerland, May 24, 2022. [Photo/Agencies]

The pandemic is by no means over.

"We are still in the tunnel. We are just beginning to glimpse the light at the end of that tunnel," Director-General of the World Health Organization Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus told reporters on Thursday, on the sidelines of the United Nations General Assembly.

The end "is still a long way off, and the tunnel is still dark, with many obstacles that could trip us up if we don't take care", the WHO chief cautioned.

Unlike US President Joe Biden, who had announced a few days earlier that the COVID-19 pandemic was over in the United States, the latter is not whitewashing the situation. His more realistic assessment should prompt the world to avoid complacency as it is too early and dangerous to drop our guard. 

In its latest epidemiological update, the WHO said over 9,800 fatalities were reported last week, down 17 percent from a week earlier, while 3.2 million new cases were reported. The UN health agency has warned that the falling number of reported cases is deceptive, since many countries have cut back on testing and may not be detecting less serious cases.

Biden's chief medical adviser Anthony Fauci also warned that the world should not be too hasty in jumping to the same conclusion as Biden, warning "We are not where we need to be if we are going to quote 'live with the virus' because we know we are not going to be able to eliminate it, because it is highly transmissible and the immunity that's induced by vaccines or infection is also transient". 

Such warnings are especially necessary as the pandemic fatigue that has settled in is prompting people to loosen their guard. It is particularly important for experts to tell the truth and political leaders to be sober-minded about the situation.

There is still a long way to go before vaccines and medicines are developed which can enable us to live with the virus. 

No experts can be sure that there won't be a resurgence of the pandemic because of a new variant of the virus which may be highly transmissible and lethal. People need to be told to stay on their guard and try to avoid being infected by taking all the precautionary measures possible. 

Responding to COVID-19 should have nothing to do with politics. It is irresponsible and immoral for politicians to politicize the pandemic. Rather, protecting people's lives should be the priority.

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