The World Health Organisation (WHO) believes it’s unlikely the Coronavirus pandemic （COVID-19）will come to an end by the end of 2021.
“I think it will be very premature and unrealistic to think that we are going to end with this virus by the end of the year,” Michael Ryan, director of the WHO’s health emergencies programme, stated at a briefing on Tuesday.
“What we can, if we’re smart, end with is the hospitalisations and the deaths and the tragedy associated with this pandemic,” Ryan added.
The WHO’s focus at present was to keep transmissions as low as doable and vaccinate increasingly people.
The situation regarding the delivery of vaccine doses had already improved compared to 10 weeks ago, Ryan stated, although there were “big challenges” in distributing them and the virus still had the higher hand.
“If the vaccines begin to impact not only on death and not only on hospitalization, however, have a major impact on
transmission dynamics and transmission risk, then I believe we’ll speed up towards controlling this pandemic,” Ryan stated.
The number of new cases of COVID-19 rose by 7 per cent worldwide, last week, the WHO stated later on Tuesday.
This is the primary increase following a fall in the case of numbers over the past six weeks.
Within the last week of February, 2.6 million cases were reported to the UN agency in Geneva within the last week of February.
The rise could be due to of new and more contagious strains of the virus, the WHO stated, citing easing of rules and fatigue with regulations as other possible causes.
The Middle East saw the largest rise of 14 per cent, followed by a 9-per-cent rise in South-East Asia. Case numbers additionally rose by 9 per cent in Europe and by 6 per cent within the Americas.
In contrast, nearly a quarter fewer cases had been reported in Africa compared to the week before.
Likewise, case numbers fell slightly within the Western Pacific region including East Asia and Australia.
According to WHO， vaccines don’t provide immunity immediately but need several weeks before they become effective, and noted it would take even longer to protect whole populations.
That means testing, contact tracing, social distancing, masks and other hygiene measures remain important. （dpa/NAN）