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    Monkeypox Risk Is ‘Real’, Says WHO. Reiterates COVID-19 Pandemic ‘Not Over’

    HealthCOVID-19Monkeypox Risk Is ‘Real’, Says WHO. Reiterates COVID-19 Pandemic...
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    Monkeypox Risk Is ‘Real’, Says WHO. Reiterates COVID-19 Pandemic ‘Not Over’

    Over 1,000 cases of monkeypox infections have been reported from 29 countries so far, even as COVID-19 claimed over 7,000 lives last week, the WHO chief said. Some countries have reported cases of apparent community transmission.

    The risk of monkeypox becoming established in non-endemic countries is “real”, the World Health Organization (WHI) warned on Wednesday, while simultaneously reiterating that the COVID-19 pandemic “is not over.”

    “More than 1,000 confirmed cases of monkeypox have now been reported to WHO from 29 countries that are not endemic for the disease,” said WHO chief Tedros Ghebreyesus.

    He said the spread of the disease to several non-endemic countries “suggests that there might have been undetected transmission for some time.”

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    “The risk of monkeypox becoming established in non-endemic countries is real,” he emphasized.

    He also added that no deaths have been reported in the outbreaks, adding that the UN health agency “does not recommend mass vaccination against monkeypox.”

    “Cases have been reported mainly, but not only, among men who have sex with men. Some countries are now beginning to report cases of apparent community transmission, including some cases in women,” said Tedros.

    He pointed out that the “virus has been circulating and killing [people] in Africa for decades,” with more than 1,400 suspected cases and 66 deaths across the continent so far this year.

    “It’s an unfortunate reflection of the world we live in that the international community is only now paying attention to monkeypox because it has appeared in high-income countries,” Tedros added.

    Look out for dangerous COVID-19 variant

    Tedros cautioned against letting down the guard on COVID-19. Reminding that the virus claimed more than 7,000 lives in the last week itself, he said the perception that the COVID-19 pandemic is over is “misguided”.

    “The pandemic is not over, and we will keep saying it’s not over until it is,” he asserted.

    While cases and deaths decline globally, the WHO continues to urge caution as there is “not enough testing and not enough vaccination” worldwide, he said, arguing for the need for more government and more international action to contain the spread of COVID-19.

    The WHO chief said that about 75 per cent of health workers and people over 60 years of age have been vaccinated globally. Further, the rates, however, are “much lower in low-income countries,” said the WHO chief, adding that “68 countries have still not achieved 40 per cent coverage.”

    “Vaccine supply is now sufficient, but demand in many countries with the lowest vaccination rates is lacking.”

    He warned that a “new and even more dangerous variant could emerge at any time.”

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