The new corona virus may never go away and people around the world need to learn to live with it, the World Health Organization warned on Wednesday.
As some countries around the world gradually loosen the lockdown restrictions that are being put in place to prevent the spread of the novel coronavirus, the WHO said it may never be completely eradicated.
The virus first appeared in Wuhan, China, late last year, and has since infected over 4.2 million people and killed nearly 300,000 people worldwide.
"It is the first time that we have a new virus in the human population and it is therefore very difficult to predict when we will take action against this virus," said Michael Ryan, WHO's emergency director.
"This virus may just become another endemic virus in our communities and this virus may never go away," he said at a virtual press conference in Geneva.
"HIV has not disappeared – but we have come to terms with the virus."
More than half of humanity has been banned in some form since the onset of the coronavirus crisis.
However, the WHO warned that there was no way to guarantee that relaxing the restrictions would not trigger a second wave of infection.
"Many countries want to get out of the different measures," said WHO chief Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus.
"But our recommendation is still that alertness should be at the highest possible level in every country."
"A long way to go"
Ryan added that there was a "long, long way" on the way to normalization, and insisted that countries should stay on course.
"There are some magical considerations that locks work perfectly and that unlocking locks is great. Both are dangerous," said the Irish epidemiologist.
Ryan also condemned attacks on health workers linked to the pandemic, saying that in April alone, over 35 "fairly serious" incidents were recorded in 11 countries in April alone.
He said the attacks were often overreaction from poorly informed communities – while others were more scary.
"COVID-19 brings out the best in us, but it also brings out some of the worst," he said.
"People feel empowered to overcome their frustrations with people who are just trying to help.
"These are senseless acts of violence and discrimination that must be resisted."
However, he insisted that humanity had a chance to take a big step forward in finding a way to fight the virus by finding a vaccine and making it widely available.
"It is an enormous opportunity for the world," said Ryan.
(This story was not edited by NDTV staff and is generated automatically from a syndicated feed.)