WHO: Pandemic to be 'far more deadly' this year

Photo: EPA

The World Health Organization issued a grim warning on Friday that the second year of Covid-19 was set to be "far more deadly", as Japan extended a state of emergency amid growing calls for the Olympics to be scrapped, AFP reported. "We're on track for the second year of this pandemic to be far more deadly than the first," WHO director-general Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said.

WHO chief also urged wealthy countries to stop vaccinating children and instead donate doses to poorer nations. "I understand why some countries want to vaccinate their children and adolescents, but right now I urge them to reconsider and to instead donate vaccines to Covax," Tedros said, referring to the global vaccine-sharing scheme.

The WHO also said Friday that even the vaccinated should keep wearing masks in areas where the virus is spreading. "Vaccination alone is not a guarantee against infection or against being able to transmit that infection to others," WHO's chief scientist Soumya Swaminathan said.

The pandemic has killed at least 3,346,813 people worldwide since the virus first emerged in late 2019, according to an AFP tally of official data.

More on this subject: Coronavirus

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