“Very unlikely” world can eradicate or eliminate coronavirus in current situation

It is unlikely that the world can eradicate or eliminate coronavirus any time soon, a World Health Organization official said on Friday.

“In our current situation, it is very unlikely that we can eradicate or eliminate this virus. There are very particular environments in which that can occur — island states and other places — but even they risk re-importation,” Dr. Mike Ryan, executive director of WHO’s Health Emergencies Program, said during a briefing in Geneva.

“We’ve seen countries who’ve managed to get to zero or almost zero re-import virus from outside. So there’s always a risk — either from within or from bringing disease back in — and therefore, it is a given that there is always a risk of further cases,” Ryan said. “The transmission that occurs in that situation can be single, sporadic cases, which can be relatively easily isolated and quarantined. A more worrying pattern is large clusters of cases that could occur in association with super spreading events — events in which large crowds gather.”

Maria Van Kerkhove, WHO’s technical lead for coronavirus response and head of its emerging diseases and zoonoses unit, also said in Friday’s briefing that “this is something we all need to anticipate — that there’s the possibility that there could be a resurgence, there could be these small outbreaks.”

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