The WHO said on Friday that for decades the effects of a coronavirus pandemic would be felt as its emergency committee assessed the situation six months after its maximum alarm sounded during the outbreak.
The new coronavirus has killed nearly 675,000 people and infected at least 17.3 million since it erupted in China last December, according to a testimony from official sources compiled by AFP.
The emergency committee of the World Health Organization, made up of 18 members and 12 councilors, is meeting for the fourth time due to the COVID-19 crisis.
“It’s sad to think that six months ago, when you recommended me to declare a public health emergency of international concern (PHEIC), there were fewer than 100 cases and there were no deaths outside of China.” WHO chief Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said the meeting began.
“The pandemic is a health crisis once in a century, the effects of which will be felt over the next few decades.”
The committee may propose new recommendations or modify existing ones.
However, there is no doubt that the WHO will maintain the state of the pandemic as PHEIC, its highest level of alarm, which was first declared on 30 January.
The WHO has been harshly criticized for the time it took to declare an international emergency.
The United States, which accused the organization of being too close to China, officially began its withdrawal from the organization in July.
The agency has also been criticized for recommendations considered late or contradictory, in particular for wearing masks or modes of virus transmission.
– Unanswered questions –
“Many scientific questions have been resolved; many remain to be answered,” Tedros said.
“The first results of studies in serology show a consistent picture: most people in the world are still susceptible to this virus, even in areas that have experienced serious outbreaks.
“Many countries that thought they were the worst are now affecting new outbreaks. Some that have been less affected in the first few weeks are now increasing the number of cases and deaths. And some that had major outbreaks have put them under control.”
Highly restrictive blockades applied to deal with the pandemic earlier this year caused economic turmoil and an effective vaccine may be the only long-term solution to highly contagious respiratory disease.
“While vaccine development is occurring at a record rate, we need to learn to live with this virus and we need to fight it with the tools we have,” Tedros said.
(This story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is automatically generated from a syndicated feed.)