It is unrealistic to think the world will be done with the Covid-19 pandemic by the end of the year, the World Health Organization warned on Monday.
WHO emergencies director Michael Ryan said it might however be possible to take the tragedy out of the coronavirus crisis by reducing hospitalisations and deaths.
But the virus remains in control, he added, especially given that global new case numbers increased last week after six consecutive weeks of decline.
“It will be very premature, and I think unrealistic, to think that we’re going to finish with this virus by the end of the year,” Ryan told journalists. “But I think what we can finish with, if we’re smart, is the hospitalisations, the deaths and the tragedy associated with this pandemic.”
Ryan said that vaccinating front-line health care workers and those most vulnerable to severe disease would “take the fear… out of the pandemic”.
But he added that recent progress could not be taken for granted and “right now the virus is very much in control”.