Wednesday, Feb 24, 2021

COVID-19 could be with us for a long time

COVID-19 could be with us for a long time

Several outbreaks of coronavirus have appeared around the world as nations try to balance the reopening of their economies with preventing a second wave of infections, while a senior official of the World Health Organization (WHO) warned that COVID- 19 could endure among humanity for a long time.
Authorities in the Chinese city of Wuhan were moving forward Wednesday to start Coronavirus tests on the 11 million local people in 10 days after detecting fewer new infections, according to reports.

In Lebanon, authorities reinstated a four-day national quarantine starting Wednesday night due to a sudden increase in reported infections and complaints from officials that people were not abiding by the rules of social distancing.

Dr. Michael Ryan, a senior WHO official, warned of the possibility that the new coronavirus is here to stay.

"This virus may never go away," he said at a press conference. Without a vaccine, it could take years for the world population to build up sufficient levels of immunity, he added.

"It seems important to me to raise it," he said. "This virus could become another endemic virus in our communities," he noted, noting that other previously new diseases like HIV have not disappeared, although effective treatments have been developed.

The United States is the country most affected by the pandemic in the world: it accumulates 1.45 million infected and more than 86,000 deaths, according to the Worldometer May 14 data.

Globally, more than 4.5 million people have been infected and 302,000 of them have died, according to Johns Hopkins. Experts assure that the true figures are possibly much higher.

Despite the danger that loosening the restrictions could cause further spikes in infections, European nations have been trying to resume cross-border travel, particularly as the summer holiday season draws near in countries whose economies depend on overcrowding tourists beaches, museums and historical places.

The European Union unveiled a plan to help citizens of the 27 member nations save their summer vacations after being confined for months by the coronavirus and aiming to revive the battered tourism sector in the region. The pandemic has forced to close the borders in Europe and to cancel the support of the low cost local flights.

The European Commission, presented its recommendations to cancel identity checks at closed borders, help airlines, ferries and buses to stay operational while ensuring the safety of passengers and crews, and develop sanitary measures for hotels.

It is unknown whether EU countries will heed the recommendations, as it is them, not Brussels, who have the last say in health and safety.

Some European countries have sought bilateral agreements with their neighbors.

Austria indicated that it will reopen its border with Germany completely on June 15 and reduce border checks from Friday. Chancellor Sebastian Kurz said that Austria is trying to reach similar agreements with Switzerland, Liechtenstein and other eastern European neighbors "as long as the contagion figures allow it."

German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas said his country would raise a general warning against travel to European destinations sooner than elsewhere, but without specifying a date. The German warning against all non-essential tourist travel abroad remains in force until at least June 14.

Nations around the world are trying to strike a balance between people's security and countering the severe economic fallout. Italy partially lifted the restrictions last week and saw a large increase in confirmed coronavirus cases in its worst affected region.

Pakistan reported 2,000 new infections in a single day after the agent crowded local markets after restrictions were relaxed.

European countries have slowly begun to relax their quarantines, from the opening of hairdressers next week in Belgium to the resumption of classes soon in Portugal.

But various security measures are being taken, including reducing the number of children in preschool classes in Belgium and various forms of social distancing.

Sweden has taken a different approach in the fight against coronavirus. The country has stayed wide open, and given the responsibility to the citizens to follow the health and hygiene guidelines. Schools and restaurants have stayed open, but the authorities have asked people to avoid nonessential travel abroad and restrict your transit within the country. As a result the COVID-19 deaths in the country reached figures ten times higher than neighboring Finland and Norway.

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