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No country can ride out the pandemic until there is a vaccine, says WHO chief

Issuing time:2020-08-25 23:26Source:China DailyLink:https://www.chinadaily.com.cn/a/202008/24/WS5f431668a310834817262292.html

World Health Organization (WHO) Director-General TedrosAdhanom Ghebreyesus attends a news conference organized by Geneva Associationof United Nations Correspondents (ACANU) amid the COVID-19 outbreak at the WHOheadquarters in Geneva, Switzerland on July 3, 2020. [Photo/Agencies]


The World Health Organization says theCOVID-19 pandemic can be ended within two years but has warned that no countrycan just ride it out until there is a vaccine.

The organization's Director-General,Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, said it took two years to end the 1918 flupandemic, and technology today will help end the present pandemic more quickly,even though globalization brings connectivity that helps viruses to spread.

"So we hope to finish thispandemic in less than two years, especially if we can pull efforts together andwith national unity and global solidarity," he told a virtual newsconference that he hosted in Geneva on Friday.

In opening remarks, Tedros said thatno country can ride out the pandemic until there is a vaccine. A vaccine willbe vital in fighting the pandemic, he said.

"But there's no guarantee that wewill (find a vaccine soon), and even if we do … it won't end the pandemic onits own. We must all learn to control and manage this virus using the tools wehave now, and to make the adjustments to our daily lives that are needed tokeep ourselves and each other safe."

New milestone

The world reached a milestone of800,000 COVID-19 deaths on Saturday and close to 23 million confirmed cases,according to a tally kept by Johns Hopkins University.

In the United States, the country withthe most infections, health officials said there may be 10 times more casesthan the more than 5.6 million confirmed ones. The US has recorded more than175,000 deaths from the virus, also more than any other country.

India reported a record daily jump ofinfections on Saturday, bringing the total to near 3 million and pilingpressure on authorities to curb huge gatherings as a major religious festivalbegan.

The 69,878 new infections, the fourthstraight day above 60,000, took India's total cases to 2.98 million, behindonly the US and Brazil. COVID-19 deaths increased by 945 to 55,794, the federalhealth ministry said.

South Korea added 397 new cases to itscoronavirus caseload in a 10th day of triple-digit increases, as the speed ofviral spread neared levels last seen during the worst of the outbreak inspring.

The resurgence, which began in denselypopulated Seoul before spreading to practically every major city and provincialtown over the past week, is a major setback for the country, which had been eagerto tout its hard-won gains against the virus.

In Italy, the health ministry onSaturday reported 1,071 new coronavirus infections in the previous 24 hours,exceeding 1,000 cases in a day for the first time since May, when thegovernment eased rigid lockdown measures.

Speaking of ways to contain the virus,Tedros said that the lockdowns enabled many countries to suppress transmissionand take the pressure off their health systems, but noted that lockdowns arenot a long-term solution anywhere.

"We do not need to choose betweenlives and livelihoods, or between health and the economy. That's a falsechoice. On the contrary, the pandemic is a reminder that health and the economyare inseparable."

WHO is committed to working with allcountries to move into a new stage of opening their economies, societies,schools and businesses safely, he said.

Every individual must be involved, hesaid.

"Every single person can make adifference. Every person, family, community and nation must make their owndecisions, based on the level of risk where they live. We will not-we cannot-goback to the way things were."