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WHO's Tedros backs Tokyo Olympic Games 'power to inspire'


(MENAFN - Emirates News Agency (WAM)) TOKYO, 22nd July, 2021 (WAM) -- The head of the UN World Health Organisation (WHO), Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, has welcomed the start of the Olympic and Paralympic Games as a chance to spread "hope to the world".

Speaking in the Japanese capital Tokyo, he said the world must unite with "determination, dedication and discipline" to triumph over the COVID-19 pandemic.

"More than any other event (the Games) have the power to bring the world together; to inspire; to show what is possible," Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, Director-General of the WHO, told the International Olympic Committee, with the Olympic flame in his hand.

He warned that the world was now in the early stages of another wave of infections and deaths, urging all countries to embark on a "massive global push" to vaccinate at least 10 percent of their populations by September.

Today, 75 percent of vaccines have been administered in just 10 countries, Tedros said, while in low income countries, "only one percent of people have received at least one dose."

The COVID-19 pandemic has taught many painful but important lessons, including that when health is at risk, everything is at risk, said the UN official.

"That's why WHO's top priority is universal health coverage", he explained, sharing the vision of a world in which all people can access health services where and when they need them, without facing financial hardship.

When asked when the pandemic will end, Tedros answers "when the world chooses to end it."

"We have the tools to prevent transmission and save lives. Our common goal must be to vaccinate 70 percent of the population of every country by the middle of next year," he concluded.

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