The World Health Organisation (WHO) has said the coronavirus (COVID-19) “may never go away.” It, therefore, warned against any attempt to predict how long it would keep circulating and called for a “massive effort” to counter it.
WHO emergencies expert, Mike Ryan, told an online briefing on Wednesday: “It is important to put this on the table: this virus may become just another endemic virus in our communities.
“We need to get into the mindset that it is going to take some time to come out of this pandemic,” WHO epidemiologist Maria van Kerkhove told the briefing.
WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus added: “The trajectory is in our hands, and it’s everybody’s business, and we should all contribute to stopping this pandemic.”
This came as more than 140 world leaders and experts yesterday signed an open letter calling on all governments to unite behind a people’s vaccine against COVID-19.
The signatories include President of South Africa and Chair of the African Union Cyril Ramaphosa; Prime Minister of Pakistan Imran Khan; President of the Republic of Senegal, Macky Sall; and President of the Republic of Ghana Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo.
The letter, which marked the most ambitious position yet by world leaders on a COVID-19 vaccine, according to a statement by the Joint United Nations Programme on AIDS (UNAIDS), demanded that all vaccines, treatments and tests be patent-free, mass-produced, distributed fairly and made available to all people, in all countries, free of charge.
Coordinated by UNAIDS and Oxfam, the letter warned that the world should not have monopolies and competition stand in the way of the universal need to save lives.