The director general of the international health body, Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, made the announcement as part of a virtual press conference earlier this week.
Dr Ghebreyesus was speaking as new figures revealed the weekly deaths from the virus around the world are at the lowest level since March 2020 – the month the UK first went into lockdown.
To date, over six million people have died globally as a result of the Covid health crisis.
In what has been regarded as his most upbeat assessment since declaring Covid an international emergency in January 2020, Dr Ghebreyesus told reporters the world has never been in a better position to end the COVID-19 pandemic and said: “We are not there yet. But the end is in sight.”
However, the director general remained cautious about the situation and added:
“A marathon runner does not stop when the finish line comes into view, she runs harder, with all the energy she has left. So must we.
“We can see the finish line, we’re in a winning position. But now is the worst time to stop running.
“Now is the time to run harder and make sure we cross the line and reap the rewards of all our hard work.
“If we don’t take this opportunity now, we run the risk of more variants, more deaths, more disruption and more uncertainty. So, let’s seize this opportunity.”
On Wednesday the WHO released six new policy briefs that detail recommended key actions that it believes all governments must take now to finish the race.
The documents include guidance on testing, vaccination, best practice for managing the disease, maintaining infection control measures in health facilities, preventing the spread of misinformation and community engagement.
The WHO has estimated that 19.8 million deaths were averted in 2021 thanks to Covid-19 vaccines, and 12 billion doses have been administered around the world.
But it warned that the virus still poses an “acute global emergency” and highlighted that during the first eight months of 2022 more than a million people died from Covid-19.
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