Europe can live with COVID-19 with local lockdowns - WHO regional director

Europe can live with COVID-19 without a vaccine by managing outbreaks with localised lockdowns, the World Health Organization’s director for the region said on Tuesday.

People wearing a protective facemask visit the Montmartre neighbourhood, in Paris, on 11 August 2020 as the mayor decided to make the mask compulsory in certain areas of the city to fight against the rising of new infected cases of COVID-19. Picture: AFP

LONDON - Europe can live with COVID-19 without a vaccine by managing outbreaks with localised lockdowns, the World Health Organization’s director for the region said on Tuesday, adding he did not expect a return to full national-level restrictions.

“The day we are going to conquer the pandemic is not necessarily the vaccine. It is when we learn to live with the pandemic, and that can be tomorrow,” Hans Kluge, World Health Organization regional director for Europe, told Sky News.

Asked if he expected wholesale lockdowns in the coming months to avoid a second wave of infections, he said: “No.”

“I’m optimistic, but we cannot exclude localised lockdowns,” he said.

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