WHO says Covid should not be treated like the flu

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Who Says Covid Should Not Be Treated Like The Flu Who Says Covid Should Not Be Treated Like The Flu
People jogging past the National Covid Memorial Wall (PA), © PA Wire/PA Images
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By Ella Pickover, PA Health Correspondent

Covid-19 should not be likened to the flu, the World Health Organisation (WHO) has said.

The global health body said that governments around the world “should not suggest to people that the data have suddenly changed, or the virus has suddenly got incredibly weak”.

Dr David Nabarro, the WHO’s special envoy for Covid-19, said that the “end was in sight” but said that Europe was only “passing the halfway mark in a marathon”.

Asked about remarks that Covid-19 should be treated like the flu, Dr Nabarro told Sky News: “I keep wondering what the people who make these amazing predictions know that I and my colleagues in the World Health Organisation don’t know.

“You see, what people are seeing from around the world and reporting to the WHO is this is still a very, very dangerous virus, especially for people who have not been vaccinated and who’ve not been exposed to it before.

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“It can also mutate and form variants and we’ve seen several but we know there are more not far away.

“So quite honestly, we are not saying that this should be considered to be like flu or indeed like anything else.

“It’s a new virus, and we must go on treating it as though it is full of surprises, very nasty and rather cunning.”

He told the broadcaster: “All governments everywhere should not suggest to people that the data have suddenly changed, or the viruses suddenly got incredibly weak.

“Governments have got to set the direction and not shy away from that.

“So all I’m asking every leader in the world to do is to help everybody stay focused on the job which is keeping this virus at bay, preventing people from getting infected if at all possible, and making certain that we are well prepared to deal with further surges as they come.”

But he said that the end of Europe’s battle with Covid-19 was “in sight”.

“The end is in sight, but how long is it going to take to get there? What sort of difficulties will we face on the way? Those are the questions that none of us can answer because this virus continues to give us challenges and surprises.”

He added: “It’s as though we’re just passing the halfway mark in a marathon and we can see that yes, there is an end and fast runners are getting through ahead of us.

“But we’ve still got a long, long way to trudge and it’s going to be tough.”

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