As the plans on easing the lockdowns imposed on people increase, the United Nations’ agency, the World Health Organization (WHO), has warned the coronavirus “may never go away”.
Dr Mike Ryan, WHO Chief of Emergencies, warned governments against trying to predict when the coronavirus would disappear, adding that even if a vaccine is found, controlling COVID-19 will require a massive effort.
Almost 300,000 people worldwide are officially reported to have died of coronavirus, and more than 4.3 million cases of infection recorded. In the past 24 hours, 1,616 people died from coronavirus in the US, 745 in Brazil, 494 in the UK, 353 in Mexico, 195 in Italy, 184 in Spain, 147 in Sweden, 136 in India, 133 in Canada, 121 in Germany and 112 in Peru. There was a total to 5,101 people dying from COVID-19 in the past day, according to World-O-Meters.
30,000 deaths through #Covid19UK is the equivalent of 75 fully laden Boeing 747 planes crashing in the UK killing all on board in just the last 7 weeks. Would you fly still?
I'll still be social distancing and being sensible about where I go and who I see. pic.twitter.com/lbsWmR4lVj
— Harry Tangye (@DC_ARVSgt) May 11, 2020
“It is 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,” Dr Ryan said during the WHO’s virtual press conference from Geneva.
“HIV has not gone away – but we have come to terms with the virus.”
WHO epidemiologist Maria van Kerkhove also said at the press conference: “We need to get into the mindset that it is going to take some time to come out of this pandemic.”
Lockdown measures are being relaxed in many countries. For instance, in the US, a small number of states started easing their lockdowns about two weeks ago, ranging from opening shopping malls in Texas to beach hotels in South Carolina to gyms in Wyoming. Georgia was one of the first states where some businesses were allowed to open their doors again, starting April 24 with barber shops, hair salons, gyms, bowling alleys and tattoo parlours, AP News reported.
Authorities in the city of Wuhan, China, where the pandemic originated late last year, reportedly are to test all 11 million residents for the virus within 10 days after a cluster of new infections were discovered. In the Chinese city of Jilin, travel restrictions have been imposed, residential areas closed and gatherings banned after a number of coronavirus cases were confirmed as authorities try to prevent a second wave.
In Lebanon, authorities reinstated a nationwide lockdown for four days beginning on Wednesday night after a dramatic spike in reported infections and complaints that social distancing rules were being ignored.