The World Health Organization (W.H.O.) on Saturday warned the coronavirus pandemic will be “lengthy” and lockdowns alongside enforced social isolation will continue for some time after its emergency committee met to evaluate its own bungled initial response to the crisis.
The announcement came as millions of U.K. over 50s were warned they could be given orders to stay at home indefinitely as part of Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s “nuclear plans” to stem the virus once and for all.
The committee “highlighted the anticipated lengthy duration of this COVID-19 pandemic”, the W.H.O. said in a statement, and warned of the risk of “response fatigue” given the socio-economic pressures on countries.
The panel gathered Friday for the fourth time over the coronavirus crisis, half a year on from its January 30 declaration of a public health emergency of international concern (PHEIC) — the W.H.O.’s highest level of alarm.
“W.H.O. continues to assess the global risk level of COVID-19 to be very high,” said its latest statement.
“The committee highlighted the anticipated lengthy duration of this COVID-19 pandemic, noting the importance of sustained community, national, regional, and global response efforts.”
Going into the meeting, W.H.O. chief Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said the pandemic’s effects would be long-lasting.
“It’s sobering to think that six months ago, when you recommended I declare a PHEIC, there were less than 100 cases and no deaths outside China,” he said Friday.
What Tedros didn’t acknowledge, however, was his own confusion as far back as early January as to the threat posed by the deadly virus and its origins in China.
Preliminary investigations conducted by the Chinese authorities have found no clear evidence of human-to-human transmission of the novel #coronavirus (2019-nCoV) identified in #Wuhan, #China🇳. pic.twitter.com/Fnl5P877VG
— World Health Organization (WHO) (@WHO) January 14, 2020
As Breitbart News reported, the Geneva-based U.N. agency said then the global risk posed by coronavirus was “moderate” after it was first identified in the city of Wuhan in China on December 31,
By the end of January it backflipped and said the risk was “very high in China, high at the regional level and high at the global level.”
The United States, which accused the organisation of being too close to Beijing, officially began its withdrawal from the organisation in July.
The agency has also been criticised for recommendations deemed late or contradictory, in particular on wearing masks, or the modes of transmission of the virus, leading to calls for Tedros to resign.
“Many scientific questions have been resolved; many remain to be answered,” Tedros said Friday.
“Most of the world’s people remain susceptible to this virus, even in areas that have experienced severe outbreaks.”
The novel coronavirus has killed at least 680,000 people and infected at least 17.6 million since the outbreak was first detected.
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