The Covid-19 pandemic is “far from over,” warned an expert.
Dr. David Nabarro, the World Health Organization (WHO) special envoy for Covid-19, said the coronavirus was on the rise in most of the world.
At a symposium held by the Royal College of Physicians in Edinburgh, he said that new variants will appear “regularly” while the virus is still around the world.
“The pandemic is far from over,” he said.
“Four and a half million cases have been reported each week, and we know this is a huge underestimation.
“And we’re still seeing a really significant number of deaths – nearly three million.
“I want to emphasize that the pandemic is advancing everywhere.
“The current situation in the UK goes against the trend of global progress … but please don’t think that this pandemic is over because it is not.
“When (cases) happen at the local level and are not suppressed, they lead to flare-ups and then explosive outbreaks.”
Dr. Nabarro said it was “one of the fastest spreading viruses” he has ever worked with, but added, “The doubling time (of infections) has been massively slowed down by people’s behavior – despite physical distance, masks, better hygiene and isolation avoid transmission. “
On the lifting of restrictions in the UK and the success of the vaccination program, he added: “(Some say) This is an opportunity for the UK to get out of the pandemic. Well, I say ‘maybe’.
“I have to emphasize that I am not 100% sure that it will be too easy for the world to vaccinate against this pandemic because variants are emerging that can escape the protection of current vaccines.
“With very large amounts of virus, new variants that are particularly problematic will be added on a regular basis. This variant problem goes on and on and on as long as we have a lot of viruses.
“There is more hope than probability when someone says they are safe because they are vaccinated.
“We should expect more variants to emerge and escape vaccination, which is inevitable. Therefore, we should expect this pandemic to continue to rage in parts of the world where large numbers of people are infected.”
He said countries could do their best to stop variation by controlling their borders, but that was a “short-term measure”.
Dr. Nabarro said that the heads of state and government of the world would have to support other countries through a global Covid program with uncertainty, not just for the coming year, but for a few years. “