Few restrictions accelerates virus, says WHO official

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A top official at the World Health Organisation says the explosive number of coronavirus cases is only partly driven by the variants, warning countries that loosening control measures may worsen the pandemic. WHO emergencies chief Dr Michael Ryan says the virus has “huge kinetic energy” in certain countries and leaders who think vaccination alone will stop the epidemic are mistaken.

being driven both by human behaviour, by the emergence of variants and many other factors,” Ryan said. “We’re expecting the virus to slow down and we’re pushing the accelerators.”

He admonished some leaders to acknowledge “the brutal reality” of the situation. India has experienced a surge of cases and deaths.

“Some of you are not in a good place,” Ryan said. “You need to protect your health system. You need to get your oxygen supply sorted out.” Ryan says while new virus variants may help spread COVID-19, the driver is “proximity between people.” He says crowds and the mixing of people without protection or handwashing are still potentially dangerous, even with the start of vaccination programmes.

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