Fresh waves of Covid-19 cases show that the pandemic is "nowhere near over", the World Health Organization's chief has warned.

"New waves of the virus demonstrate again that Covid-19 is nowhere near over," Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus told a news conference.

He added: "As the virus pushes at us, we must push back."

"The virus is running freely and countries are not effectively managing the disease burden based on their capacity.

"In terms of both hospitalisation for acute cases and the expanding number of people with post-Covid condition, often referred to as long Covid," he said.

"As Covid-19 transmission and hospitalisations rise, governments must also deploy tried and tested measures like masking, improved ventilation and test and treat protocols," Dr Tedros insisted.

WHO Emergencies Director Michael Ryan told the meeting global Covid cases reported to the WHO increased by 30% in the last two weeks.

This has been largely driven by Omicron sub-variants BA.4, BA.5 and and the lifting of public health and social measures.

Mr Ryan said recent changes in testing policies were hindering the detection of cases and the monitoring of virus evolution.


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Earlier, the Taoiseach said that the "high numbers" of Covid-19 were a concern and that people, in particular those who are not vaccinated, were ending up in hospital.

Micheál Martin said that Covid-19 "remains a significant disruptive influence in our society, in the workplace and in hospitals in particular".

As of 8am, there were 1,035 people in hospital with the virus, down 20 on the same time yesterday.

Of these, there were 46 people in intensive care units with Covid-19, an increase of six on the same time yesterday.

Yesterday, Minister for Health Stephen Donnelly said that three out of four patients in hospital with Covid-19 now are over 65 years of age and that only around half have had the second booster.

Mr Martin also said the National Immunisation Advisory Committee would advise the Government "in a timely manner in respect of a second booster dose for the under 65s".

"Vaccination as we know is the key determinant in how well we come through this," Mr Martin said.

European health agencies have said that a second Covid-19 booster be considered for people aged between 60 and 79 years, as well as those with medical conditions putting them at high risk of severe disease.

Ireland is already offering second booster doses for those age 65 and older and people with weak immune systems.

Additional reporting by Laura Fletcher