The recent increases in Covid-19 cases and deaths represent “truly worrying trends,” said World Health Organization Director General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, who warned rich nations against hoarding vaccines.
“Cases are increasing in most regions,” Tedros said at a virtual event hosted by the World Trade Organization. “We continue to see the impact of variants, opening up societies and inequitable vaccine rollout.”
The rapid development of vaccines has given some hope, but rich countries are not sharing them equitably with poorer and developing nations, Tedros said. As transmission continues, more variants are likely to emerge, including those that could evade vaccines.
“The global access to vaccines are at risk because of the demands that high- and upper middle-income countries are putting on the global supply,” he said. “This is not just a moral outrage, it is also economically and epidemiologically self defeating.”
These trends could put the world back at “square one,” Tedros said. “As long as the virus continues to circulate anywhere, people will continue to die, trade and travel will continue to be disrupted and the economic recovery will be further delayed.”