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Wednesday, October 28, 2020

Hard to predict when pandemic will be over: WHO officials

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Officials of the World Health Organization (WHO) have said it is hard to predict when the pandemic will be over, but countries should stay positive and collaborate closely.

“We have a new virus entering the human population for the first time, and therefore it is very hard to predict when we will prevail over it,” Michael Ryan, executive director of the WHO Health Emergencies Programme, said on Wednesday at a press conference in Geneva, Xinhua reported.

“I think it’s important to put this on the table: this virus may become just another endemic virus in our communities and this virus may never go away,” said Ryan. “It is important that we be realistic and I don’t think anyone can predict when or if this disease will disappear.”

“We may have a shot at eliminating this virus” with the help of a vaccine, he said, adding that the vaccine must then be “highly effective” and “made available to everyone” and that “we will have to use it.”

He believes that there is a “massive opportunity for the world” to turn “a tragic pandemic into a beacon of hope for the future,” urging the world to “work together to solve our problems through solidarity, through trust, through working together and through a multilateral system that can actually benefit mankind.”

“In some senses, we have control over that future, but it’s going to take a massive effort to do it,” he said, noting that “it’s going to need the political, the financial, the operational, the technical and the community support to be a success.”

Maria Van Kerkhove, COVID-19 technical lead at WHO, added that, despite people may be “in a state of feeling quite some despair,” we should remain positive and hopeful.

“We have seen countries bring this virus under control, we have seen countries use public health measures, the fundamentals of public health and epidemiology and clinical care, to bring the virus under control and to suppress transmission to a low enough level where communities can get back to work and communities can open up again, so we can’t forget that,” she said.

“It will take some time before we have the information on these medical interventions and it’s coming and people are working very hard on that. But this is in our hand and we are seeing hope in a number of countries and I really don’t want people to forget that,” she added.

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