The head of the World Health Organisation (WHO) said yesterday that worldwide lockdowns were not a longterm solution to managing coronavirus.
WHO Director-General, Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus also proclaimed that the COVID-19 pandemic could be over in less than two years.
Speaking at WHO’s headquarters in Geneva on Friday, Dr Tedros compared the pandemic to Spanish flu of 1918, saying today’s world was disadvantaged due to its “globalisation, closeness, connectedness”which had allowed COVID-19 to spread at lightning speed.
However, he said technology would better aid the world’s ability to fight the deadly virus.
“Utilising the available tools to the maximum and hoping that we can have additional tools like vaccines, I think we can finish it in a shorter time than the 1918 flu,” he said.
The Spanish flu killed around 50 million and infected 500 million people around the world. COVID has so far killed nearly 792,000 people and global infections are close to 23 million, with 14.5 million reportedly recovered from the virus.
WHO Emergencies Chief, Michael Ryan said often a pandemic virus settled into a “seasonal pattern” over time but warned that COVID-19 was not displaying a “wave-like” pattern.
“Clearly, when the disease is not under control, it jumps straight back up,” he said.
The WHO, however, has warned that global lockdowns were not a longterm solution for nations battling the virus.
“Lockdowns are not a long-term solution for any country,” said Dr Tedros, saying countries needed to develop strategies for living with COVID-19.
“There’s no guarantee that we will, and even if we do have a vaccine, it won’t end the pandemic on its own,” he said.
“We must all learn to control and manage this virus using the tools we have now, and to make the adjustments to our daily lives that are needed to keep ourselves and each other safe.
“So-called lockdowns enabled many countries to suppress transmission and take the pressure off their health systems. But lockdowns are not a long-term solution for any country,” he said.