Economic Affairs

Only global institutions can end this pandemic

We can't rely on the voluntary actions of individual governments and companies

A pharmacist prepares a dose of the Pfizer vaccine in Johannesburg, South Africa amid the spread of the Covid-19 variant Omicron. PHOTO: REUTERS
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Within just two weeks of the Omicron variant of the coronavirus being detected in South Africa, it spread to more than 40 countries. We don't know how long it was circulating before it was detected or where it came from. It would be no surprise if its origin was somewhere in Africa, where barely 10 per cent of people have had a single dose of any vaccine, which implies high levels of uncontrolled transmission.

This would reconfirm what we already knew: As long as there are large numbers of unvaccinated people around the world, new variants will keep popping up and spreading silently, including across national boundaries.

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