WHO chief hopes pandemic can be ended in less than two years


The head of the World Health Organisation (WHO) has said he hopes the coronavirus crisis can be ended in less than two years.

Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, the WHO’s director general, noted on Friday that the Spanish flu pandemic which began in 1918 took two years to end.

“Our situation now with more technology, of course with more [connectivity] … the virus has a better chance of spreading, it can move fast,” Mr Tedros said.

“At the same time we have the technology and knowledge to stop it.”

More than 22.81 million confirmed cases of Covid-19 have been reported around the world and 793,382 have died from the virus, according to a Reuters tally.

He added: “We must all learn to control and manage this virus using the tools we have now, and to make the adjustments to our daily lives that are needed to keep ourselves and each other safe.”

His comments came amid growing optimism about the possibility of having a safe and effective coronavirus vaccine by the end of this year.

On Thursday, French president Emmanuel Macron said a vaccine for Covid-19 could be ready “in the coming months” as he spoke at a joint press conference with German chancellor Angela Merkel.

Mr Macron said there had been improvements in European cooperation on the issue of vaccines to ensure there would be capacity to produce and deliver them to people when they become available.

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