Count on ‘prolonged’ coronavirus pandemic, warns WHO

GENEVA: The World Well being Group on Saturday warned the coronavirus pandemic was prone to be “prolonged” after its emergency committee met to judge the disaster six months after sounding the worldwide alarm.
The committee “highlighted the anticipated prolonged length of this COVID-19 pandemic”, the WHO mentioned in a press release, and warned of the chance of “response fatigue” given the socio-economic pressures on international locations.
The panel gathered Friday for the fourth time over the coronavirus disaster, half a 12 months on from its January 30 declaration of a public well being emergency of worldwide concern (PHEIC) — the WHO’s highest degree of alarm.
“WHO continues to evaluate the worldwide threat degree of COVID-19 to be very excessive,” it mentioned following the assembly.
The novel coronavirus has killed at the very least 680,000 folks and contaminated at the very least 17.6 million because the outbreak emerged in China final December, in accordance with a tally from official sources compiled by AFP.
Unsurprisingly, the panel, comprising 17 members and 12 advisers, unanimously agreed that the pandemic nonetheless constituted a PHEIC.
A number of international locations around the globe have imposed strict lockdowns in a bid to manage the unfold of the respiratory illness, plunging economies into sharp contraction.
The committee urged the WHO to supply nuanced, pragmatic steering on COVID-19 administration “to cut back the chance of response fatigue within the context of socio-economic pressures”.
The panel urged the WHO to help international locations in getting ready for the rollout of confirmed therapeutics and vaccines.
The committee additionally urged the company to speed up analysis into the remaining “vital unknowns” of the virus, such because the animal supply of the illness and potential animal reservoirs.
It referred to as for improved understanding of the epidemiology and severity of COVID-19, together with its long-term well being results.
And the committee needed extra mild shed on the dynamics of the virus, akin to “modes of transmission, shedding, potential mutations; immunity and correlates of safety”.
The close to six-hour gathering was hosted on the WHO’s headquarters in Geneva, with some contributors becoming a member of by way of video-link.
The committee will reconvene inside the subsequent three months.
Going into the assembly, WHO chief Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus mentioned the pandemic’s results can be long-lasting.
“It is sobering to assume that six months in the past, whenever you advisable I declare a PHEIC, there have been lower than 100 instances and no deaths outdoors China,” he mentioned Friday.
“The pandemic is a once-in-a-century well being disaster, the consequences of which can be felt for many years to come back.”
The committee warned international locations to arrange their well being methods to deal with seasonal influenza and different illness outbreaks alongside the brand new coronavirus.
They had been additionally urged to “encourage international solidarity” on COVID-19 and handle “mis/disinformation” concerning the virus.
The WHO has been sharply criticised for the size of time it took to declare a world emergency.
The US, which accused it of being too near China, formally started its withdrawal from the organisation in July.
The company has additionally been criticised for suggestions deemed to be late or contradictory, particularly on sporting masks, or the modes of transmission of the viru

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