The acute phase of the coronavirus pandemic can end this year, if countries use all of the tools available, the head of the World Health Organization said on Monday.
Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus told a meeting of the WHO's executive committee, that the goal could be achieved if the vaccination gap was closed in poorer countries and more testing was carried out.
"If countries use all of the strategies and tools in a comprehensive way, we can end the acute phase of the pandemic this year", he said.
"We can end COVID-19 as a global health emergency and we can do it this year."
He told health ministers and officials from 34 countries that vaccine shortages had been overcome and the logistical challenge now was sending the doses to all nations and administering them.
Tedros though offered notes of caution. He said the rapid spread of the Omicron variant meant 100 new cases were reported to WHO from around the world every three seconds last week. One death was added every 12 seconds.