LThe committee normally meets every three months, but “This time around, the Director General has invited members two weeks ahead of schedule to study topics that require urgent debate. These are the recent variants and the use of vaccination certificates and tests for international travel ”, explains a press release from the World Health Organization (WHO) published Wednesday evening in Geneva.
It is this committee which, at its second meeting on January 30, 2020, advised the Director General, Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, to declare a public health emergency of international concern, the highest level of alert for the epidemic. .
Health systems under pressure
On Tuesday, the WHO announced that the new variants of the coronavirus, in particular the British, continued to spread around the world. Since their first detection on December 14, the new variants have been reported in around fifty countries, territories and areas, according to the WHO. “In England the variant has been detected in all regions and almost all local authorities”, underlines the UN World Health Agency in its latest epidemiological bulletin.
Since its first notification on December 18, 2020, the “South African” variant of “501Y.V2” has been detected in 20 countries or territories in four of the six WHO regions. Based on preliminary and ongoing investigations in South Africa, it is possible that this variant is more transmissible than variants circulating in South Africa previously, notes the WHO, adding that although this new variant does not appear to cause of more serious disease, the rapid increase in the number of cases has “Health systems under pressure”.
The UN agency also announced that it had been informed by Japan of the discovery of a new variant of the coronavirus on its territory.