Photo used for illustrative purpose.
Many nurses are burned out from the COVID-19 pandemic and rates of "intention to leave" within a year have doubled to 20-30%, said Howard Catton, CEO of the Geneva-based group that represent 27 million nurses in 130 national associations.
"I think that we are at a tipping point ... if those numbers continue the trend that we are seeing, it could be an exodus of people," Catton told a news briefing.
"I almost think that governments need to be thinking about the life support package of measures they need to be putting together to invest in their nurses and their health care workers next year," he said.
At least 115,000 nurses have died from COVID-19, but Catton said this World Health Organisation figure from the start of the pandemic through May was conservative and the true figure is probably twice that.
There was already a global shortage of 6 million nurses pre-pandemic and some 4.75 million nurses are due to retire over the next few years, he added.
On average, wealthy countries have nearly 10 times the rate of nurses in terms of their populations compared with poor nations, but many are recruiting overseas to staff their hospitals, he said, noting that the Philippines and India were traditional exporters.
"We have absolutely seen increased recruitment activity by the UK and Germany as examples in Europe, the US and Canada in North America as well," he said. He added that African countries such as Kenya, Uganda, Nigeria were seeing their nurses recruited.
The emergence of the Omicron coronavirus variant, first detected last month in southern Africa and Hong Kong and now reported in nearly 60 countries, has caused fresh anxiety.
"My sense is that nurses around the world, I think like all of us were perhaps starting to feel that we were starting to see light at the end of the pandemic tunnel, but now there is a palpable anxiety that we could be going back close to square one," Catton said.
Health officials worldwide have expressed concerns in recent days that some countries grappling with the devastating economic impact of lockdowns may lift restrictions too swiftly, and that the coronavirus could spread during mass anti-racism protests.
WHO chief scientist Soumya Swaminathan said that the variant was successfully evading some immune responses, meaning that the booster programmes being rolled out in many countries ought to be targeted towards people with weaker immune systems.
Omicron appears to be better at evading antibodies generated by some COVID-19 vaccines but there are other forms of immunity that may prevent infection and disease, WHO officials said.
WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said the pandemic had been on a downward trend for more than a year, acknowledging that most countries have already returned to life before COVID-19.
Preliminary projections make the availability of one or several vaccines seem possible by autumn 2020," the Robert Koch Institute said in a statement on its website, citing a global effort to bring immunisations to market.
Cease-fire mediator Qatar said efforts are ongoing to renew the truce, which saw Israel pause most military activity in Gaza and release 300 Palestinian prisoners in exchange for Palestinian group Hamas freeing over 100 hostages held in Gaza.
The emirate's delegation comprised the Sharjah Book Authority, Sharjah Literary Agency, Sharjah Department of Culture, Al Qasimi Publications, and Kalimat Group.
"You are the spirit of the union. You are its present and future. I pray to Allah Almighty to bless you and our nation with continued security, progress and prosperity," Sheikh Mohammed said.
In another homage to the UAE, Egyptian couple Manal Mohamed and Mahmoud Muhareb rang in UAE National Day with the birth of baby Zayed exactly at 12:00am, weighing 3.810 kg. After two boys and two girls, Zayed is their fifth child.