GENEVA

The WHO chief said Friday he hopes the world can finish the coronavirus pandemic in less than two years.

Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus was answering questions about the comparison between the last century’s Spanish flu, and the novel coronavirus afflicting the world at a webinar.

He said the Spanish flu lasted from February 1918 to April 1920.

“So, it took two years to stop. And in our situation now with more technology and of course we have a disadvantage of globalization, closeness, connectedness but an advantage of better technology, so we hope to finish this pandemic in less than two years,” he said.

The director-general said that several countries are experiencing fresh outbreaks after a long period with little or no transmission.

“These countries are a cautionary tale for those that are now seeing a downward trend in cases. Progress does not mean victory.”

He said that no country can just ride this out until we have a vaccine.

“A vaccine will be a vital tool, and we hope that we will have one as soon as possible. But there’s no guarantee that we will, and even if we do have a vaccine, it won’t end the pandemic on its own.”

He said the people need to learn to control and manage the virus using the tools they have “and to make the adjustments to our daily lives that are needed to keep ourselves and each other safe.”

“The pandemic is a reminder that health and the economy are inseparable,” the UN health agency chief said, adding that the WHO would work with all countries to move to a new stage of opening their economies, societies, schools, and businesses safely.

“To do that, every single person must be involved. Every single person can make a difference. Every person, family, community, and nation must make their own decisions, based on the level of risk they live in.”

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