The World Health Organization (WHO) on Thursday said the COVID-19 pandemic has killed one million people worldwide since January this year, reported The Africa News. The global health body urged governments to speed up vaccination as one-third of the world’s population remains unvaccinated.
“We have passed the tragic milestone of one million deaths from Covid-19 since the beginning of the year,” the WHO Director General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus told a news conference.
He made an appeal to governments in all countries to boost their efforts to vaccinate all health workers, the elderly and all others who are most at risk, in order to achieve 70% vaccination coverage for the entire population. Notably, 136 countries have failed to reach the target, of which 66 still had coverage below 40 percent.
In January, WHO, the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) and their partners created the Covid Vaccine Delivery Partnership (CoVDP) to facilitate the distribution of doses in 34 countries with less than 10 percent coverage, all but six in Africa.
Dr. Tedros praised progress among some of the countries with the lowest COVID-19 vaccination rates that have seen these rates grow in recent months. Now, only 10 countries still have less than 10 per cent coverage, most of which are facing humanitarian emergencies.
“However, there is still much to do,” he said.
According to the WHO chief, one third of the world population is still not vaccinated, including two thirds of health workers and three quarters of the elderly in low-income countries.
As per the latest WHO statistics, the Covid-19 pandemic has led to the death of 6.45 million people worldwide since the first cases appeared in late 2019 in China’s Wuhan region.
On Thursday, the WHO also said that it has seen a 21% reduction in new cases of monkeypox reported worldwide last week, with the epidemic beginning to slow in Europe.