The chief of the World Health Organization said the United Nations agency is learning new things about the virus every day, including the ability of new variants to spread, make people sick, or have a potential impact on available tests, treatments or vaccines.
He singled out work taking place in the UK and South Africa, where scientists are carrying out epidemiologic and laboratory studies, which will guide the agency’s next steps.
The WHO chief said, “Only if countries are testing effectively will you be able to pick up variants and adjust strategies to cope. We must ensure that countries are not punished for transparently sharing new scientific findings.”
Thanking the many partners with whom the WHO has worked this year, he looked ahead to 2021, and to the fair and equitable distribution of treatments and vaccines discovered this year.
However, the officials warned it may be premature to imagine a world in which COVID-19 has been eradicated.