WHO technical lead on COVID-19 warns against persistence of virus in many countries

WHO technical lead on COVID-19 warns against persistence of virus in many countries

'Even if the world seems to have forgotten, we must always take Covid seriously,' says American epidemiologist Maria Van Kerkhove

By Nur Asena Erturk

ANKARA (AA) – The World Health Organization's technical lead on COVID-19 on Thursday warned against the persistence of the virus in many countries.

"Even if the world seems to have forgotten, we must always take COVID seriously," the American infectious disease expert, Maria Van Kerkhove told Swiss daily Le Temps.

"The virus continues to circulate a lot in many countries on the planet, augmenting its chances of mutating. We are closely monitoring the latest variants, including EG.5 and BA.2.86," she said.

The WHO recorded 1.4 million new cases of COVID-19 and over 2,300 deaths in six regions from July 17 to Aug. 13. This equals an increase of 63% in cases compared to the previous 28-day period.

Maria Van Kerkhove also called on the governments not to drop their guard against the virus and dismantle their systems.

"We are expecting new waves of infections, whether by BA.2.86 or other variants. We have to be vigilant if we want to prevent new deaths and a wave of hospitalizations," she added when asked for her forecast for fall and winter.

The WHO on its website shows that more than 769 million cases have been recorded so far on the entire planet, and the pandemic claimed over 6.95 million lives.

The UN health body added that 3,446 new cases were recorded in the last seven days.

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