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Health And Family

WHO: Coronavirus may never go away

Robin Millard - Agence France-Presse
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

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: May 17, 2022 - 12:26pm

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

May 17, 2022 - 12:26pm

North Korean military medics ramped up the distribution of medicines to fight a growing coronavirus outbreak, state media said on Tuesday, with the number of reported cases of "fever" nearing 1.5 million.

Leader Kim Jong Un has ordered nationwide lockdowns to try and slow the spread of the disease through the unvaccinated population, and deployed the military after what he has called a botched response to the outbreak.

Hundreds of personnel in camouflage uniforms from the Korean People's Army medical units were seen rallying in the capital Pyongyang in photos released by the official Korean Central News Agency (KCNA).

The military "urgently deployed its powerful forces to all pharmacies in Pyongyang City and began to supply medicines under the 24-hour service system", KCNA said. — AFP

May 16, 2022 - 11:09am

Kim Jong Un slamms North Korea's pandemic response and ordered the army to help distribute medicine, state media said Monday, as the country said 50 people had died since first reporting an outbreak of Covid-19.

More than a million people have been sickened by what Pyongyang is referring to as "fever", state media said, despite leader Kim ordering nationwide lockdowns in a bid to slow the spread of disease through the unvaccinated population.

In a sign of how serious the situation may be, Kim "strongly criticised" healthcare officials for what he called a botched response to epidemic prevention — specifically a failure to keep pharmacies open 24/7 to distribute medicine. — AFP

May 15, 2022 - 9:28am

North Korea on Sunday reported 15 additional deaths from "fever" after the country recently announced its first-ever cases of Covid-19 and ordered nationwide lockdowns.

State media KCNA said a total of 42 people had died, with 820,620 cases and at least 324,550 under medical treatment.

Leader Kim Jong Un has said the outbreak has caused "great upheaval" in North Korea.

KCNA reported that "all provinces, cities and counties of the country have been totally locked down and working units, production units and residential units closed from each other."

Despite activating its "maximum emergency quarantine system" to slow the spread of disease through its unvaccinated population, North Korea is now reporting large numbers of new cases daily. -- AFP

May 14, 2022 - 1:41pm

North Korea announces 21 new "fever" deaths Saturday and says more than half a million people had been sickened nationwide, two days after confirming its first-ever cases of COVID-19.

Despite activating its "maximum emergency quarantine system" to slow the spread of disease through its unvaccinated population, North Korea is reporting tens of thousands of new cases daily.

On Friday alone, "over 174,440 persons had fever, at least 81 430 were fully recovered and 21 died in the country," the official Korean Central News Agency reported. — AFP

May 13, 2022 - 7:42am

North Korea on Friday announced its first Covid-19 death, saying that 187,000 people were being "isolated and treated" for fever as it confirmed the virus had spread nationwide.

"A fever whose cause couldn't be identified explosively spread nationwide from late April," the official Korean Central News Agency said.

"Six persons died (one of them tested positive for the BA.2 sub-variant of Omicron,)" it added.

The isolated nuclear-armed country confirmed its first-ever cases of Covid on Thursday, saying it was moving into "maximum emergency epidemic prevention system" after sick patients in the capital Pyongyang tested positive for Omicron.

"On May 12 alone, some 18,000 persons with fever occurred nationwide and as of now up to 187,800 people are being isolated and treated," KCNA said.

With its 25 million people not vaccinated against Covid, North Korea's crumbling health infrastructure would struggle to deal with a major outbreak, experts say. -- AFP

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