Geneva –

Despite the fact that the number of coronavirus infections is slowing down in various parts of the world, there is still a long way to go before ending the pandemic.

The Emergency Committee of the World Health Organization (WHO) said this Saturday that it is possible to anticipate that the COVID-19 pandemic will last a long time and that is why we must maintain the efforts made to contain it in communities, regions, countries and the entire world.

The pandemic has so far caused nearly 17.4 million confirmed cases and 675,060 deaths, according to the official WHO count.

The group of scientists met in a virtual way this Friday to assess the evolution of the coronavirus pandemic from the review and discussion of all the scientific information on the SARS CoV-2 coronavirus that has emerged in the three months since its last meeting.

The committee is made up of eighteen scientists from different countries and it is up to the WHO Director-General, Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, to convene it and receive its recommendations.

As expected, the group of experts in different medical and scientific disciplines agreed that the COVID-19 outbreak continues to constitute an international health emergency.

"The pandemic is a health crisis that occurs only once a century and its effects will be felt in the coming decades", Tedros told the Committee according to a WHO statement.

"Many countries that believed the worst was over are now facing new outbreaks; some that were less affected in the first few weeks are now seeing the increase in cases and deaths, while others that had large outbreaks have managed to control them." Tedros summed up.

Among the main recommendations made to WHO are to continue supporting countries with lesser capacities to maintain their medical services and to continue promoting research aimed at finding one or more treatments and vaccines for COVID-19.

The objective is that when the time is right, the countries with the lowest resources are not left out of the distribution of vaccines or medicines due to their inability to pay for them. In short, that its distribution is as equitable as possible.

Currently three potential vaccines (of American, British and Chinese origin) are in phase 3 of clinical trials, which will determine if they work or not and if they are safe.

The WHO has indicated in this regard that it estimates that a vaccine will be ready for marketing "in the first part of 2021", at the earliest.

Regarding travel, the Committee indicated that countries should take proportional measures and issue their advice to travelers based on correctly evaluated risks and review such measures on a regular basis.

It also recommended that countries strengthen their health systems to identify new cases and track contacts. (I)

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