WHO: Coronavirus may never go away
This handout file illustration image obtained February 27, 2020 courtesy of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) shows a transmission electron microscopic image of an isolate from the first US case of COVID-19, formerly known as 2019-nCoV, with the spherical viral particles, colorized blue, containing cross-sections through the viral genome, seen as black dots. US authorities warned healthcare and scientific researchers May 13, 2020 that Chinese-backed hackers were attempting to steal research and intellectual property related to treatments and vaccines for COVID-19. Organizations researching the disease were warned of "likely targeting and network compromise by the People's Republic of China," a statement from the FBI and the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency said."China's efforts to target these sectors pose a significant threat to our nations response to COVID-19," they said.
AFP/Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Handout
WHO: Coronavirus may never go away
Robin Millard (Agence France-Presse) - May 14, 2020 - 7:50am

GENEVA, Switzerland — The new coronavirus may never go away and populations around the world will have to learn to live with it, the World Health Organization warned Wednesday.

As some countries around the world begin gradually easing lockdown restrictions imposed in a bid to stop the novel coronavirus from spreading, the WHO said it may never be wiped out entirely. 

The virus first emerged in Wuhan in China late last year and has since infected more than 4.2 million people and killed nearly 300,000 worldwide.

"We have a new virus entering the human population for the first time and therefore it is very hard to predict when we will prevail over it," said Michael Ryan, the WHO's emergencies director.

"This virus may become just another endemic virus in our communities and this virus may never go away," he told a virtual press conference in Geneva.

"HIV has not gone away — but we have come to terms with the virus."

More than half of humanity has been put under some form of lockdown since the coronavirus crisis began.

But the WHO warned there was no way to guarantee that easing the restrictions would not trigger a second wave of infections.

"Many countries would like to get out of the different measures," said WHO chief Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus.

"But our recommendation is still the alert at any country should be at the highest level possible."

'Long way to go'

Ryan added that there was a "long, long way to go" on the path to returning to normal, insisting that countries would have to stay the course.

"There is some magical thinking going on that lockdowns work perfectly and that unlocking lockdowns will go great. Both are fraught with dangers," the Irish epidemiologist said.

Ryan also condemned attacks on healthcare workers that were linked to the pandemic, saying more than 35 "quite serious" such incidents were recorded in April alone in 11 countries.

He said the attacks were often over-reactions from ill-informed communities — while others were more sinister.

"COVID-19 is bringing out the best in us, but it's also bringing out some of the worst," he said.

"People feel empowered to take out their frustrations on individuals who are purely trying to help.

"These are senseless acts of violence and discrimination that must be resisted."

But he insisted that in finding a way to conquer the virus was a chance for humanity to take major step forward by finding a vaccine and making it widely accessible.

"It's a massive opportunity for the world," Ryan said.

NOVEL CORONAVIRUS WORLD HEALTH ORGANIZATION
As It Happens
LATEST UPDATE: September 22, 2020 - 7:22am

Follow this page for updates on a mysterious pneumonia outbreak that has struck dozens of people in China.

September 22, 2020 - 7:22am

The novel coronavirus has killed at least 961,531 people since the outbreak emerged in China late last year, according to a tally from official sources compiled by AFP at 1100 GMT on Monday.

At least 31,110,400 cases of coronavirus have been registered. Of these, at least 21,082,500 are now considered recovered.

The tallies, using data collected by AFP from national authorities and information from the World Health Organization (WHO), probably reflect only a fraction of the actual number of infections. — AFP

September 21, 2020 - 6:42pm

A Chinese primetime TV drama about the coronavirus pandemic has been slammed by social media users, who accused it of sexism for downplaying the role of women in battling the deadly outbreak at ground-zero.

China has largely brought the virus under control since it first emerged late last year, though Beijing has rushed to reshape the official narrative following criticism that it mishandled its initial response and punished whistleblowers.

But the new show, "Heroes in Harm's Way" — first aired by state broadcaster CCTV on Thursday — has triggered a fierce online backlash for its depiction of women in the virus battle.

One controversial scene set in the virus ground-zero city of Wuhan showed female bus drivers being reluctant to volunteer for a delivery team due to family commitments — while their male colleagues did not hesitate.

Users on the Twitter-like platform Weibo re-posted state media news reports praising real-life female bus drivers and volunteers, and argued women had been vital in transporting supplies and medical staff around the locked-down city.

"Women have made such a huge contribution to (fight) the epidemic... The pandemic is still not over, but they rushed to smear (women)," read one comment with over 15,000 likes. — AFP

September 21, 2020 - 5:40pm

Irish pubs reopened after a six-month shutdown on Monday but many in the capital, Dublin, remained under heightened coronavirus restrictions because of a surge of infections.

All of Ireland's 7,000 pubs were shut by government order on March 16 — the eve of the national St Patrick's Day celebrations — as the country was shut down.

On June 29, those serving food were permitted to reopen, but so-called "wet pubs" providing drinks only stayed shut.

Last week the government confirmed that while all pubs nationwide were permitted to open on Monday, Dublin's drinking-only establishments would remain shuttered. — AFP

September 21, 2020 - 2:53pm

UK unveils overhaul of virus-hit privatized rail sector — AFP

September 21, 2020 - 7:52am

The novel coronavirus has killed at least 957,948 people since the outbreak emerged in China last December, according to a tally from official sources compiled by AFP at 1100 GMT on Sunday.

At least 30,849,800 cases of coronavirus have been registered. Of these, at least 20,871,300 are now considered to have recovered.

The tallies, using data collected by AFP from national authorities and information from the World Health Organization (WHO), probably reflect only a fraction of the actual number of infections. — AFP

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