August 22, 2020
The world should be able to rein in the coronavirus pandemic in less than two years, the World Health Organisation says, as European nations battle rising numbers of new cases.
Western Europe has been enduring the kind of infection levels not seen in many months, particularly in Germany, France, Spain, and Italy – sparking fears of a full-fledged second wave.
“We have a disadvantage of globalization, closeness, connectedness, but an advantage of better technology, so we hope to finish this pandemic before less than two years,” WHO chief Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus told reporters.
By “utilizing the available tools to the maximum and hoping that we can have additional tools like vaccines, I think we can finish it in a shorter time than the 1918 flu”, he said.
The WHO also recommended children over 12 years old now use masks in the same situations as adults as the use of face coverings increases to stop the spread of coronavirus.
The WHO’s announcement comes as parts of Europe see infection numbers soar.
In the Spanish capital Madrid, officials recommended people in the most affected areas stay at home to help curb the spread, as the country registered more than 8000 new cases in 24 hours.
France also reported a second consecutive day of more than 4000 new cases – numbers not seen since May – with metropolitan areas accounting for most of those infections.
But Dr. Tedros sought to draw favorable comparisons with the notorious flu pandemic of 1918.
With no usable vaccine yet available, the most prominent tool governments have at their disposal is to confine their populations or enforce social distancing.