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"HIV has not gone away – but we have come to terms with the virus...we have found therapies and we have found the prevention methods and people don't feel as scared as they did before," said Dr Michael Ryan, health emergencies executive director, at a virtual media briefing in Geneva, adding, he doesn't believe 'anyone can predict when this disease will disappear'.
He added that many countries are currently racing in developing a vaccine for the virus, but there are other illnesses, such as HIV, measles, that still haven't been eliminated despite there being vaccines for them. "Even if the vaccine is developed, mass production and its worldwide distribution would require a huge amount of work," said Dr Ryan.
Talking about the worldwide lockdown imposed by countries, Ryan said there was "some magical thinking" that lockdowns work perfectly and that "unlocking lockdowns will go great".
He said that the lockdown doesn't guarantee the halt of the second wave of coronavirus. Countries should not be waiting to see if opening of lockdowns has worked by counting the cases in the ICUs or observing the death toll.
The phase of disease can only be observed by community-based surveillance and conducting more testing, further adjusting the public health measure in case to cope with any recurrent cases.
"Let us not go back in a situation where we don't know what is happening until our hospitals are overflowing."
Dr Ryan also commented on other concerns rising around human rights, where horrific attacks have been observed on healthcare workers and some recovered people, who are perceived to bring back risk of the virus, public unrest, and events involving profiling and targeting of ethnic groups or minorities in some countries.
"The pandemic is bringing some best in us, but also bringing some of the worst in us, like reactionary groups and enhanced discrimination."
The worldwide number of coronavirus cases has now surpassed 4 million, with more than a million recoveries and more than 2 lakh deaths.
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