Coronavirus: WHO warns pandemic will be lengthy

Coronavirus: WHO warns pandemic will be lengthy

World Health Organization (WHO) says coronavirus pandemic is likely to be “lengthy” and warns of risk of “response fatigue”.

.The World Health Organization on Saturday warned the coronavirus pandemic was likely to be “lengthy” after its emergency committee met to evaluate the crisis six months after sounding the international alarm.

The committee “highlighted the anticipated lengthy duration of this COVID-19 pandemic”, the WHO said in a statement, and warned of the risk of “response fatigue” given the socio-economic pressures on countries.

Daily Times gathered that the panel gathered Friday for the fourth time over the coronavirus crisis, half a year on from its January 30 declaration of a public health emergency of international concern (PHEIC), the WHO’s highest level of alarm.

“WHO continues to assess the global risk level of COVID-19 to be very high,” said its latest statement.

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“The committee highlighted the anticipated lengthy duration of this COVID-19 pandemic, noting the importance of sustained community, national, regional, and global response efforts.”

The novel coronavirus has killed at least 680,000 people and infected at least 17.6 million since the outbreak emerged in China last December, according to a tally from official sources compiled by Agence France-Presse (AFP).

The panel, comprising 18 members and 12 advisers, unanimously agreed that the pandemic still constituted a PHEIC.

The committee urged the WHO to provide nuanced, pragmatic guidance on COVID-19 reactions “to reduce the risk of response fatigue in the context of socio-economic pressures”.

The panel urged the WHO to support countries in preparing for the rollout of proven therapeutics and vaccines.

It also urged the agency to accelerate research into the remaining “critical unknowns” of the virus, such as the animal source and potential animal reservoirs.

Going into the meeting, WHO chief Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said the pandemic’s effects would be long-lasting.

“It’s sobering to think that six months ago, when you recommended I declare a PHEIC, there were less than 100 cases and no deaths outside China,” he said Friday.

“The pandemic is a once-in-a-century health crisis, the effects of which will be felt for decades to come,” he added.

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Oluwadamilola Adedeji

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