The head of the EU’s disease control agency on Friday warned that the novel coronavirus could last indefinitely even as global infections slowed by nearly half in the last month and vaccine rollouts gathered pace in parts of the world.
ECDC chief Andrea Ammon in an interview with AFP, urged European countries in particular not to drop their guard against a virus that “seems very well adapted to humans” and may require experts to tweak vaccines over time, as is the case with the seasonal flu.
According to Ammon, head of the Stockholm-based European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control, “So we should be prepared that it will remain with us.”
After the latest harsh wave of a pandemic that started in China more than a year ago, glimmers of hope flickered as an AFP database showed the rate of new COVID-19 infections has slowed by 44.5 percent worldwide over the past month.
Nearly 2.4 million have died from COVID-19 and more than 107 million people have been infected worldwide.
But disease experts cautioned that vaccines won’t end the pandemic unless all countries receive doses in a fast and fair manner.
No end to a pandemic without equal vaccine access: experts
Writing in an open letter published in The Lancet medical journal, the authors said with vaccine stockpiling in wealthier countries, “it could be years before the coronavirus is brought under control at a global level.”
Moderna said it was seeking clearance with regulators around the world to put 50 percent more coronavirus vaccine into each of its vials as a way to quickly boost current supply levels that is time when the caution came by the US vaccine maker.
A marked drop in infections, seen in Britain and accelerating vaccinations, has prompted some within the governing Conservative Party to push for stay-at-home rules to be lifted in early March.
Many countries re-entered lockdown in early January to control a more contagious COVID-19 variant first identified in the UK.
The British government nonetheless voiced their warning, a watchword echoed elsewhere, including Italy, Portugal and Australia.
In Australia, more than 6 million people in Melbourne and its surrounding area were under an emergency five-day coronavirus lockdown.
“It’s rough. It’s going to be a rough few days for everyone,” said tennis star Serena Williams, reacting to the lockdown moments after her latest victory at the Australian Open.
While play will continue under the restrictions, fans will no longer be permitted and players must restrict themselves to biosecure “bubbles
The toll on sports, entertainment and economies continued to be massive.
The Tokyo Olympic Games are due to open in July after multiple delays.
But the games organizers are already battling public misgivings about holding the huge international event this summer.