COVID-19 cases rise for 1st time in 7 weeks, world won't conquer virus in 2021: WHO

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The number of reported coronavirus cases increased for the first time in seven weeks, and it's unrealistic to think the world will defeat the COVID-19 virus by the end of this year, top World Health Organization officials said on Monday.

“In the past week, the number of reported cases of COVID-19 increased for the first time in 7 weeks. Reported cases increased in four of WHO’s six regions: the Americas, Europe, South East Asia and the Eastern Mediterranean. This is disappointing, but not surprising,” WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said.

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The World Health Organization's emergencies director Michael Ryan said it's unrealistic to think that the world will be done with the pandemic by the end of the year.

"It will be very premature and I think unrealistic to think that we're going to finish with this virus by the end of the year," Ryan told journalists. "But I think what we can finish with, if we're smart, is the hospitalisations, the deaths and the tragedy associated with this pandemic," he added.

Tedros urged countries to remember that vaccines alone cannot keep people safe from infection, stressing the importance of basic public precautionary health measures.

“We’re working to better understand these increases in COVID-19 transmission. Some of it appears to be due to relaxing of public health measures, continued circulation of variants, and people letting down their guard,” he added.

The WHO DG urged governments to continue testing, contact tracing, isolation, supported quarantine and quality care, and individuals to avoid crowds, practice physical distancing, hand hygiene, wear masks and ensure proper ventilation.

The global COVID-19 tally stood at over 114 million confirmed cases, 64.5 million recovered patients and 2.5 million deaths, according to John Hopkins.

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