The World Health Organisation (WHO) believes it is unlikely the Coronavirus pandemic COVID-19）will come to an end by the end of 2021.
“I think it will be very premature and unrealistic to think that we are going to finish with this virus by the end of the year,” Michael Ryan, director of the WHO’s health emergencies programme said
“What we can, if we are smart, finish with is the hospitalisations and the deaths and the tragedy associated with this pandemic,” Ryan added.
The WHO’s focus at present was to keep transmissions as low as possible and vaccinate more and more people.
The situation regarding the delivery of vaccine doses had already improved compared to 10 weeks ago, Ryan said, although there were “huge challenges” in distributing them and the virus still had the upper hand.
“If the vaccines begin to impact not only on death and not only on hospitalization, but have a significant impact on transmission dynamics and transmission risk, then I believe we will accelerate towards controlling this pandemic,” Ryan said.
According to WHO， vaccines do not provide immunity immediately but need several weeks before they become effective, and noted it would take even longer to protect whole populations.
That means testing, contact tracing, social distancing, masks and other hygiene measures remain critical.