After nearly three years since the first case was reported in China, the World Health Organization (WHO) has acknowledged that there is a notable decline in the rate at which new cases of Covid-19 are being reported.
WHO Director-General Dr Tedros Ghebreyesus said “We have never been in a better position to end the pandemic,” adding that “We are not there yet, but the end is in sight.”
He said newly reported cases of the novel virus, which has killed over 6.5 million people since it hit the world in late 2019, last week fell to the lowest level since March 2020.
“If we don’t take this opportunity now, we run the risk of more variants, more deaths, more disruption, and more uncertainty.”
According to WHO, new Covid-19 cases worldwide fell 28 percent last week marking a fifth straight seven-day period of declining cases while Covid-related deaths dropped 22 percent from the previous week.
Cases declined in all WHO regions, and deaths were down in all but Africa, where they rose 10 percent, the WHO said in the update. The five countries reporting the most cases were Japan, South Korea, the US, Russia, and China.
The WHO boss, however, urged nations not to drop their guard against the disease that has also infected over 610 million people, saying there is no guarantee that the trend will persist in the months ahead.
Meanwhile, Kenya has also in recent weeks seen a drop in the number of positive cases reported, with the country reporting just a case in the latest tests, posting a positivity rate of 0.3 percent.
So far Kenya has reported a total of 338,308 positive cases with 5,675 fatalities.
In a bid to help countries to do what is needed to rein in the virus, Dr Tedros announced the launch of a set of six short policy briefs that outline essential steps governments can take to reduce transmission and save lives.
The categories include testing, clinical management, vaccination, infection prevention and control, risk communication and community engagement, and managing misinformation.
“These policy briefs are an urgent call for governments to take a hard look at their policies, and strengthen them for Covid-19 and future pathogens with pandemic potential,” Dr Tedros said.
The WHO warned of the possibility of future waves of the virus and said countries need to maintain adequate supplies of medical equipment and healthcare workers.
“We expect there to be future waves of infections, potentially at different time points throughout the world caused by different sub variants of Omicron or even different variants of concern,” said WHO’s senior epidemiologist Maria Van Kerkhove.