14:20 GMT18 May 2021
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    Earlier, the World Health Organization (WHO) stated that new COVID-19 cases and deaths would be on the rise over the next several weeks, despite ongoing efforts to curb the spread of SARS-CoV-2, the deadly virus that causes COVID-19. Officials have repeatedly warned that transmission rates are not decreasing as much as they would like.

    Top WHO officials have declared that the trajectory of the pandemic is at a “critical point” as new cases are “growing exponentially” in spite of strict preventative COVID-19 measures imposed by foreign governments.

    Maria Van Kerkhove, the health body’s technical lead for its COVID-19 response, remarked during a panel discussion in Geneva, Switzerland, on Monday that the emergence of new coronavirus cases around the globe has reached a new level of concern for officials.

    “We are in a critical point of the pandemic right now, the trajectory of this pandemic is growing,” Kerkhove noted, highlighting that over the last week some 4.4 million new cases were documented. “The trajectory of the pandemic right now is growing exponentially.”

    “This is not the situation we want to be in 16 months into a pandemic where we have proven control measures. It is time right now where everyone has to take stock and have a reality check of what we need to be doing,” she added.

    Last week, global case counts spiked by about 9%, as the COVID-19 death toll jumped by 5%. 

    To date, over 137 million COVID-19 cases have been documented around the globe and nearly 3 million deaths have been recorded, according to data collected by Worldometer.

    Kerkhove also took the opportunity to shed light on the importance of vaccination campaigns, as well as the ability to successfully provide medical professionals with adequate supplies of vaccines. She stresses that while “vaccines and vaccinations are coming online, they aren’t here yet in every part of the world.”

    Although the US and several European and Asian countries were able to receive their vaccine doses and implement their own rollout campaigns, not every country has managed to begin such protocols. Some of those countries include African nations such as Libya, Tanzania and Madagascar.

    Officials have previously highlighted that even after countries begin imposing new vaccination programs, delays emerge as government officials look at how best to begin rolling up their vaccine campaigns. 

    The latest revelations came weeks after Kerkhove remarked at a March panel discussion that new figures emphasized that the transmission rate is continuing to go “in the wrong direction,” and that the pandemic is “far from over.”

    “We’re not talking about a handful of cases here and there. We are still in the acute phase of the pandemic,” the WHO official told the public at the time.

    Kerkhove’s statements also came as India recently surpassed Brazil as the second worst-infected country in the world after the US. In fact, India recently came under the microscope after a new double-mutant variant of the COVID-19 strain emerged there. Officials have yet to determine whether the strain is more contagious.


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