Covid-19 pandemic will 'hopefully' be over in two years, WHO says

21 August 2020, 17:41

Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus
Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus. Picture: PA

By Maddie Goodfellow

The head of the World Health organisation has said he 'hopes' the coronavirus pandemic will be over in two years.

He compared the current situation with the Spanish flu pandemic of 1918, which also took two years to end.

Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said: "Our situation now with more technology, of course with more connectiveness, the virus has a better chance of spreading, it can move fast."

"At the same time we have the technology and knowledge to stop it."

Dr Tedros also warned that while some countries have managed to drive down transmission of COVID-19, "progress does not mean victory".

He explained that several countries are experiencing fresh outbreaks after long periods with little or no cases, mentioning New Zealand and Vietnam.

"These countries are a cautionary tale for those that are now seeing a downward trend in cases," he said.

"It's time to push the panic button," says former CSA

The director general also said that individuals must take their own responsibility for helping to stop the spread of coronavirus.

Dr Tedros said there is no guarantee a vaccine will be found, and even if it is, "it won't end the pandemic on its own".

"We must all learn to control and manage this virus using the tools we have now, and to make the adjustments to our daily lives that are needed to keep ourselves and each other safe," he said.

Nearly 800,000 people have died from coronavirus worldwide, according to Johns Hopkins University.

Countries added to 14-day UK quarantine list

It comes amid the news that the UK's coronavirus R number has risen to between 0.9 and 1.1, according to the government's scientific advisory group.

According to data released on Friday by the Government Office for Science (GOS) and the Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies (Sage), the UK's infection rate has now increased from the range of between 0.8 and 1.0 one week ago.

The R number represents the number of people on average someone with Covid-19 will likely go on to infect. If it creeps above 1, that suggests transmission is beginning to get out of control.

Sage also said the rate of growth - which shows how quickly the number of infections is changing day-by-day - in the UK may still be on the rise

The country's latest growth rate is between minus 3 per cent to plus 1 per cent, a slight increase on what was previously between minus 4 per cent to minus 1 per cent last week.

This means the number of new positive cases is somewhere between shrinking by 3 per cent and growing by 1 per cent every day, with the most likely value being somewhere in the middle of that range, according to experts.

Latest World News

See more Latest World News

Joe Biden has tested positive for Covid

Joe Biden cancels campaign event after testing positive for Covid-19

Joe Biden has hinted he could step aside from the race against Donald Trump for the White House

Biden hints he could quit election race against Trump on medical advice, as top Democrat calls for him to stand down

Two British travel agents are believed to be the pair found shot dead and their bodies burned in a car in Malmo.

British travel agents thought to be pair shot dead and burned in car in Malmo

Enzo Fernandez filmed himself and his Argentina teammates singing an offensive song

Chelsea star Enzo Fernandez apologises to teammates after starting ‘racist’ chant with Argentina players

Jay Slater's family will fly back with his body

Jay Slater's family to return to UK with his body as his heartbroken mum begins funeral plans

Six people were found dead at a luxury hotel in Bangkok died from cyanide

Six people who died 'foaming at the mouth' in five-star luxury Thai hotel were poisoned by drinks laced with cyanide

Joe Biden has vowed to outlaw the gun used to shoot at Donald Trump

Joe Biden vows to outlaw assault rifle gunman used to shoot at Donald Trump, as he says 'politics has got too heated'

Enzo Fernandez filmed himself and his Argentina teammates singing an offensive song

Chelsea star Enzo Fernandez slammed by teammate Fofana for 'uninhibited racism' after offensive chant

Snipers weren't placed on the "sloping roof" used by the shooter who attempted to assassinate Presidential nominee Donald Trump over "safety concerns", the head of the US Secret Service has admitted.

Snipers weren't placed on 'sloping roof' used by would-be Trump assassin over 'safety' concerns

Two Brits have been shot dead in Sweden - their bodies were found in a burnt out car in  Fosie, Malmo

Two Brits shot dead and set on fire in double murder in Sweden with attacker ‘prepared to strike again’

Jack Black has cancelled the rest of his Tenacious D tour after his bandmate Kyle Gass made a comment on the assassination attempt on Donald Trump on stage on Sunday night.

Jack Black cancels tour over Tenacious D bandmate's Trump assassination comment

Six people have died at the Grand Hyatt Erwan Hotel in downtown Bangkok

Mystery as six found dead 'foaming at the mouth at luxury Bangkok hotel 'after being poisoned with cyanide'

The Spanish Civil Guard said Jay Slater, from Oswaldtwistle, Lancashire, could have fallen in a steep and inaccessible area

Jay Slater's best friend Lucy Law pays heartbreaking tribute to 'happiest' person after his ‘deteriorated’ body found

A 25-year-old Brit is missing in Sardinia

Urgent hunt for missing Brit, 25, in Sardinia as desperate mum issues plea after he 'undressed and vanished'

Labour Treasury Secretary says he 'doesn't know' what JD Vance meant when he joked the UK could be 'first Islamist country to have nuclear weapons'

Treasury Sec 'doesn't know' what JD Vance meant by joke UK could be 'first Islamist country to have nuclear weapons'

Lord Robertson will lead the defence review

UK must be ready to confront 'deadly quartet' of China, Russia, Iran and North Korea, warns defence review chief