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As countries move swiftly to remove almost all Covid-19 restrictions, the World Health Organisation (WHO) has reminded us all that the pandemic is not over. In fact, at the beginning of the week, the death toll from the virus reached the grim 6 million statistic, another reminder the pathogen is alive and well, unfortunately.

For the past couple of months, many countries have reversed their Covid-19 policies. Face mask wearing is no longer mandatory, travel is back even without, in many parts of the world, the usual PCR testing and businesses have responded. There are some concerns though that people may be getting complacent, despite the latest statistics showing an increase in new infections in many parts of the world.

According to Johns Hopkins University, the last million deaths were recorded over the last four months. Other reporting centres say the Covid-19 death toll is actually “between 14 million and 23.5 million.” As of Friday, 452 million people have been infected since the start of the pandemic.

A leading British scientist, Jenny Harries, the chief executive of the UK Health Security Agency (UKHSA), confirmed on Tuesday that there is an increasing number of people aged 55 and older are testing positive. The numbers “show that the pandemic is not over and that we can expect to see COVID circulating at high levels,” Dr Harries told Sky News.

A noticeable surge

That could be “due to more socialising after restrictions were eased and the effectiveness of booster jabs wearing off.” WHO meanwhile says the omicron variant continues to be the dominant cause of infections globally. While there is a decline in new cases in some countries, there is a noticeable surge in others.

Naturally, we all want to put the pandemic chapter behind us and resume our normal lives. Governments also are keen to create a business-as-usual environment to strengthen the economic recovery.

However, we all should be aware that the virus is still active and infecting hundreds of thousands around the world everyday — although the symptoms are light and the number of hospitalisation is significantly declining, thanks to the vaccine which remains the most effective weapon against the virus.

To ensure that, the vaccine needs to be updated as the effectiveness of the older doses, as experts point out, will eventually wear off. The booster shot is necessary, so is wearing the face mask indoors. We should not let our guards down. Not yet.