WHO’s Europe director, Dr Hans Kluge is warning that countries need to prepare for a ‘second or third wave’ of coronavirus until a vaccine becomes available.
Kluge said that ‘covis-19 is not going away any time soon’ warning that public health would need to ‘have a more prominent place in society’ even when it does.
The Mail Online reports: Scientists around the world are racing to develop a vaccine which would turn the tide against the virus, but it is likely to be many months away at least.
Speaking at a WHO Europe briefing, Dr Kluge said it was vital for countries to prepare for future outbreaks once the first peak had been reached.
He said: ‘If the first wave is gone, [the key issue is] that we have bought the time to prepare for a second or third wave, particularly if there is no vaccine.
‘The key issue is to be prepared, whether it is for a second wave or another outbreak of another future infectious agent.
‘This will require the collaboration and understanding of everyone, not least with the summer coming, that everyone has to do its share while moving to a new reality where public health has to have a more prominent place in society.’
Parts of Europe are starting to move towards a post-lockdown life, with schools already open in some countries and shops in others.
However, Britain remains under strict lockdown with no expiry date in sight as the death toll continues to mount.
Dr Kluge said there were positive signs Europe was passing the peak of the virus but remained ‘very much in the grip’ of the pandemic.
The continent still accounts for nearly half (46 per cent) of all cases globally, and nearly two-thirds (63 per cent) of all deaths.
He said: ‘We’re now seeing evidence of a plateau or reduction in new cases. We must monitor this development very closely.’
But he said: ‘Covid-19 is not going away any time soon.’