Omicron: WHO chief says he is ‘sure’ Covid will be beaten in 2022

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The head of the World Health Organization says the end of the Covid-19 pandemic may be in sight this year.

CEO Tedros Ghebreyesus said he believed the crisis could be nearing an end in 2022.

His optimistic message comes as countries around the world respond to an increase in cases driven by the Omicron variant.

Global infection rates hit record highs last week, with over a million a day in the time leading up to New Year.

Several countries have sought to reintroduce measures to prevent health systems from being overwhelmed, despite some promising signs that the strain could cause a less serious illness.

But the health chief struck a positive note during his end of the year, saying this could be a crucial period in the fight against coronavirus.

He said: ‘As we enter the third year of the pandemic, I am convinced that this will be the year we end it, but only if we do it together.’

Head of the World Health Organization Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus

World Health Organization chief Tedros Ghebreyesus said the end of the pandemic could be in sight (Photo: Reuters)

The Director-General called for greater cooperation on disease prevention and surveillance, adding: ‘I believe that if we can make progress on these goals, we will meet again at the end of 2022, not to mark the end of a third year of pandemic , but to celebrate a return to pre-Covid norms as we gathered with our families and communities to celebrate together and cherish each other’s company and love. ‘

He called on developed countries to help the world achieve the goal of vaccinating 70% of people in all countries by mid-2022 to correct huge imbalances between rates around the planet.

The health chief said pandemic prevention measures should be expanded and called on all countries to invest ‘in stronger primary health care as the basis of universal health coverage’.

Members of the public queue to receive a dose of a Covid-19 vaccine at a coronavirus vaccination center outside Guy's and St Thomas' Hospital in central London

The rollout of booster jab continues in the middle of a record number of cases across the country (Photo: AFP)

The UK has registered close to a million cases of Covid-19 in the last week, a wave without precedent.

Ministers have opposed calls for the reintroduction of wholesale restrictions, but have decided to reintroduce mask wearing in schools ahead of the start of the new term.

The Ministry of Education said the move will ‘maximize the number of children in school’ for ‘the maximum period’.

The measures will be introduced for high schools from the start of the semester until 26 January.

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