The novel coronavirus may never go away and the world will just have to learn to live with it. That is what the World Health Organization is now saying.
At a virtual conference in Geneva on Wednesday, WHO’s emergencies director Michael Ryan said, “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”.
"This virus may become just another endemic virus in our communities and this virus may never go away," he added. "HIV has not gone away, but we have come to terms with the virus."
The virus which originated in Wuhan, China in December last year has spread worldwide, causing widespread infections and deaths with life in almost all countries coming to a complete standstill amid lockdowns and restrictions.
With many countries now easing their strict lockdown measures, WHO has said that the virus may never be wiped out completely.
"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."
Ryan added that there was a "long, long way to go" on the path to returning to normal.
"There is some magical thinking going on that lockdowns work perfectly and that unlocking lockdowns will go great. Both are fraught with dangers," he added.