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Ians

 Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, Director-General of the World Health Organization (WHO), has called on the world to pull together to end the Covid-19 pandemic within the next year.

Addressing reporters here on Monday, Tedros said the "fastest way" to get back to normal is to make "hard decisions," this festive season amid the Omicron Covid-19 variant's quick spread.

""Canceling an event is better than canceling a life. It is better to cancel now and celebrate later than to celebrate now and mourn later," he added.

"All of us want to get back to normal... We need to protect ourselves now," Xinhua news agency quoted the WHO chief as further saying.

He also asked the governments to exercise maximum caution in the coming weeks and avoid events with large gatherings.

Since the Omicron variant was first discovered in South Africa, it has now been reported in 89 countries and the number of cases is doubling in 1.5 to three days in areas with community transmission, according to the WHO.

The new variant is not more severe than the Delta variant, but is possibly more contagious and resistant to vaccines.

On the inequity in access to vaccines, the WHO chief said: "If we are to end the pandemic in the coming year, we must end inequity."

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