As the world continues to grapple with the surge in COVID-19 infections, the World Health Organisation (WHO) has recorded 9,200 monkeypox infections across 63 countries.
WHO Director-General, Tedros Ghebreyesus, disclosed this on Tuesday during a virtual media briefing on its official Facebook account, stressing the need to implement strategies to stop onward transmission of the virus.
Ghebreyesus also advised governments to implement contact tracing, to help track the spread of the virus and to assist people in isolation.
Speaking further, he noted that “the emergency committee for monkeypox will be convened next week to look at trends and how effective the countermeasures, and make recommendations for what countries and communities should do to tackle the outbreak.”
He also highlighted three approaches to address the continuous spread of the virus, which include the collaboration with civil society organisations to tackle the stigma around the virus, coordinate the sharing of vaccines and drive forward research and development.
In its latest situation report, WHO stated that the monkeypox outbreak is present in five regions, adding that this is the first time that local transmission of monkeypox has been reported in new countries without links to countries that have previously reported monkeypox.
It further explained that the outbreak continues to primarily affect men who have sex with men “who have reported recent sex with one or multiple male partners, suggesting no signal of sustained transmission beyond these networks for now.”
As of the time of its publication, the log of cumulative confirmed monkeypox cases reported to WHO shows that between January 1, to July 4, 2022, the European Region topped with 4920 cases, followed by the Region of the Americas with 902 cases.
The African Region came third on the log with 173 cases, followed by Western Pacific Region and the Eastern Mediterranean Region with 17 and 15 infections respectively.
The WHO boss reiterated that the sub-variants of the Omicron variants like the BA.4 and BA.5 continue to drive the recent waves of COVID-19 cases.
According to the WHO COVID-19 dashboard, 271,721 new cases were recorded in the last 24hrs, raising the total confirmed cases to 552,504,629 infections recorded since the outbreak of the pandemic in 2020.
The update also shows that a total of 6,347,816 deaths have been recorded, while a total of 12,037,259,035 vaccine doses have been administered as of 3 July 2022.
However, Ghebreyesus faulted global surveillance of the pandemic, noting that its reduction is “making it increasingly difficult to assess the impact of variants on transmission.”
“Diagnostics, treatments and vaccines are not being deployed effectively,” he said “The virus is running freely, and countries are not effectively managing the disease burden based on their capacity in terms of most hospitalization for acute cases”
“Finally, there is a major disconnect in COVID-19 risk perception between scientific communities, political leaders, and the general public,” he added.
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