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Coronavirus May Never Go Away - World Health Organization Says
The novel coronavirus may never go away and populations around the world will have to learn to live with it, the World Health Organization has warned.
As some countries begin gradually easing lockdown restrictions imposed in a bid to stop the virus from spreading, the WHO says it may never be wiped out entirely.
"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," says Michael Ryan, the WHO's emergencies director.
"The virus may become just another endemic virus in our communities and this virus may never go away," he told a virtual press conference in Geneva.
"HIV has not gone away - but we have come to terms with the virus."
However, WHO has warned there was no way to guarantee that easing restrictions would not trigger a second wave of infections.
WHO chief Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said, "many countries would like to get out of the different measures."
"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, insisting that countries would have to stay the course.
"There is a magical thinking going on that lockdowns work perfectly and that unlocking lockdowns will go great. Both are fraught with dangers."
The virus first emerged in Wuhan in China late last year and has since infected more than 4.2 million people and killed nearly 300,000 worldwide.