The head of the World Health Organization (WHO), Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, asked governments, businesses and the population in general to bet on the unit to win “the race” against covid-19, this Wednesday (21) in Tokyo, two days from the official opening of the Olympic Games.
“We are not in a race against each other. We are in a race against the virus”, declared the director-general of the UN agency before the members of the International Olympic Committee (IOC), gathered in the Japanese capital.
“For the success of these Olympic Games, speed, strength and skill are needed, but also determination, dedication and discipline”, he stressed, asking the world to show the same qualities to “win” against the pandemic.
After being invited several times to participate in the great Olympic event, Ghebreyesus made the trip to take a “message”, estimating that “more than any other event, the Olympic Games attract the attention of all peoples of the world.”
“The pandemic will end when the world decides to end it. It all depends on us”, he said, calling for the administration of vaccines to be accelerated and for a more equitable distribution of doses between countries.
covid-19 has caused more than four million deaths worldwide.
“We are at the beginning of a new wave of infections and deaths” and “another 100,000 people will lose their lives until the Olympic flame goes out on August 8,” he insisted.
– “The zero risk does not exist” –
As he has been repeating for months, Ghebreyesus recalled that rich countries stock most doses of vaccines, which compromises the fight against the emergence of possible variants in the world: “If you only put water in part of the fire, the rest will continue to burn and the embers of a fire can cause another outbreak somewhere else.”
This will cause “transmission to be large and new variants to appear”, with the risk of “one of them escaping the effect of the vaccines and taking us back to the starting point”, warned the head of WHO.
Regarding the organization of these Games in the midst of a pandemic, the WHO, which advised the IOC, recalled that “there is no zero risk”, as shown by the 71 positive cases identified since the beginning of July among people linked to the event.
“They did their best,” Thedros told the IOC, believing that “the mark of success” is not the absence of cases, but the guarantee that cases will be “identified, isolated, tracked and followed up” so that “the subsequent transmission be interrupted.”
+ Learn about the effectiveness of each vaccine against Covid-19