WHO Virtual Press Conference on COVID-19 and other global health issues, 18 January

WHO Director-General’s opening remarks at the media briefing on COVID-19 — 18 January 2022

  • The volcanic eruption near Tonga and subsequent tsunami requires an urgent response. With telecommunications down, WHO is on the ground in Tonga helping coordinate the response by channelling information between UN agencies, humanitarian partners and the Tongan government.  
  • Omicron continues to sweep the world. Last week, there were more than 18 million reported cases. Make no mistake, Omicron is causing hospitalizations and deaths, and even the less severe cases are inundating health facilities.  
  • Next week, the WHO Executive Board, which is made up of 34 Member States, will meet to discuss the world’s health challenges. WHO will be working to accelerate progress on negotiations around a pandemic accord, as well as sustainable financing.

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