WHO in Covid update TODAY after England praised – warning virus will 'never' end

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The news comes as the WHO recently praised England for its vaccine response, and said the “end is in sight” for the pandemic. WHO special envoy Dr David Nabarro said: “I’m afraid we are moving through the marathon but there’s no actual way to say that we’re at the end – we can see the end in sight, but we’re not there. And there’s going to be some bumps before we get there.”

Speaking at the World Economic Forum’s virtual Davos Agenda event on Tuesday, Michael Ryan, executive director of the WHO Health Emergencies Programme, said.

“We won’t end the virus this year, we won’t ever end the virus — what we can end is the public health emergency,” he told a panel via videoconference.

“It’s the death, it’s the hospitalizations, it’s the disruptions that cause the tragedy, not the virus. The virus is a vehicle.”

However, he expressed some optimism that it was possible for this year to mark a turning point in the pandemic.

“Yes, we have a chance to end the public health emergency this year,” he said, noting that this could only be done by addressing longstanding inequities in various areas of society, such as fair access to vaccines and health care.

“It won’t end if we don’t [address these issues], this tragedy will continue,” he added.

But Ryan warned that Covid would still pose a threat to society even once it shifted from being a pandemic virus to an endemic one.

For Britain, the World Health Organisation’s Covid chief has suggested after cases fell by more than a third in a week.

Facemasks are likely to remain a legal requirement on public transport and indoors, but work from home guidance and vaccine passports are expected to be scrapped at the end of the month.

Downing Street said there were “encouraging signs that infections are falling across the country”, adding that “there are also some signs of falls, or at least plateauing, in admissions and occupancy in hospital, which is good to see”.

However, admissions have continued to rise in the northeast, northwest and southwest, and the NHS has said it expects that trend to continue for the next one to two weeks.

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The latest data shows a 38 per cent drop over the last seven days across the UK in the numbers testing positive for COVID-19, with 70,924 new cases reported on Sunday.

The figures come as ministers are expected to lift Covid restrictions next week after a review.

Nadhim Zahawi, the Education Secretary, said it was “looking positive” that plan B measures could be lifted.

The Minister said: “If you look at infection rates, they remain high, hospitalisations are still high, touching 20,000 people in hospital, but it feels like they’re plateauing,” speaking to BBC Breakfast.

Professor Mike Tildesley, from the University of Warwick and a member of the Scientific Pandemic Influenza Modelling group (Spi-M), said the latest case figures are “cautiously good news” and he hopes the country may have a “flu-type” relationship with the virus by the end of the year.

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However, some members of the government’s Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies warned on Sunday that Covid is not yet at the endemic stage in the UK, and that even if that stage were reached, it does not mean the impact of the virus will be less severe in future.

Dr Nabarro warned there was a need to still be “respectful of this virus”, adding: “Do what you can to stop transmitting it. Do what you can to protect others from being affected by it. It’s not the common cold.

“I know people would like it to be, but [Covid] is a virus that has still some really unpleasant features. Let’s do our best to protect people from it if we possibly can.”

The comments come as the self-isolation period for people testing positive for Covid was cut to five full days in England.

Ministers had been under pressure to reduce the isolation period – previously seven days – to help address staff shortages across the economy and in public services.

The government said research showed that between 20 percent and 30 percent of people are still infectious by day six.

But the percentage of those released while infectious falls to around 7 percent of people have two consecutive negative tests and then leave isolation on day six.

The United Kingdom lies 13th in the world as the most vaccinated country, after The United Arab Emirates who lead the way, followed by Portugal and Cuba in 2nd and 3rd place respectively.

Some 70.32 percent of the UK population have been fully vaccinated against the virus, receiving at least two doses according to OurWordInData.org.



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