WHO chief warns coronavirus pandemic could be over within two years

WHO chief warns coronavirus pandemic could be over within two years
Dr Tedros said advances in technology could enable the world to halt the coronavirus pandemic "in a shorter time". Source: Reuters
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Daily US Times: The head of the World Health Organization (WHO) doctor Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus says he hopes the coronavirus pandemic will be over in under two years.

Speaking in Geneva on Friday, the WHO chief said the Spanish flu of 1918 took two years to overcome, but added that current advances in technology could enable the world to halt the virus “in a shorter time”.

He said: “Of course with more connectiveness, the virus has a better chance of spreading.”

“But at the same time, we have also the technology to stop it, and the knowledge to stop it,” he noted, focusing the importance of “national unity, global solidarity”.

The deadly flu of 1918 killed at least 50 million people.

The coronavirus has so far infected 22.7 million people and killed almost 800,000 people across the world.

Dr Tedros also responded to a question about corruption relating to personal protective equipment (PPE) during the pandemic, which he described as “criminal”.

He said: “Any type of corruption is unacceptable.”

He compared the corruption related to PPE… as murder, ”because if health workers work without PPE, we’re risking their lives. And that also risks the lives of the people they serve.”

Although the question related to allegations of corruption in South Africa, a number of countries around the world have faced similar issues.

Protests were held in the Kenyan capital Nairobi on Friday over alleged graft during the pandemic, while doctors from a number of the city’s public hospitals went on strike over a lack of protective equipment and unpaid wages.

The head of the WHO’s health emergencies programme warned in the same day that the scale of the coronavirus outbreak in Mexico was “clearly under-recognised”.

Dr Mike Ryan said the around three people per 100,000 were being tested in Mexico, compared to about 150 per 100,000 people in the US.

Mexico has the third highest number of deaths in the world, with according to Johns Hopkins University, almost 60,000 fatalities recorded since the pandemic began.

Meanwhile, in the US, Democratic nominee Joe Biden has attacked President Donald Trump’s handling of the coronavirus pandemic.

Mr Biden said: “Our current president’s failed in his most basic duty to the nation. He’s failed to protect us. He’s failed to protect America.” He also pledged to introduce a national mandate to wear masks if elected.

On Friday, more than 1,000 new deaths were announced in the US, bringing the total number of fatalities to 173,490.

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