WHO experts feel there is strong likelihood of mire dangerous COVID-19 variants, “The pandemic is nowhere near finished”

The World Health Organization’s emergency committee warned Thursday that new concerning variants of Covid-19 were expected to spread around the world, making it even harder to halt the pandemic.

“The pandemic is nowhere near finished,” the committee said in a statement, highlighting “the strong likelihood for the emergence and global spread of new and possibly more dangerous variants of concern that may be even more challenging to control.”

The emergency committee also advises against COVID-19 vaccination should not be required for international travel, amid a growing debate on blocking the entry of travelers if they are unvaccinated.

The independent experts said that vaccinations should not be the only condition to permit international travel, given limited global access and inequitable distribution of COVID-19 vaccines.

The experts had previously said that requiring proof of vaccination deepens inequities and promotes unequal freedom of movement.

The WHO chief also asked China to cooperate better in the probe into the origins of the coronavirus pandemic, the first cases of which were seen in Wuhan in December 2019.

“We hope there will be better cooperation to get to the bottom of what happened,” Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus told a regular press briefing in Geneva, calling in particular for access to raw data which so far has been inadequate.

Tedros said investigations into the origins of the pandemic in China were being hampered by the lack of raw data on the first days of its spread there.