WHO expects to end pandemic in "less than two years"

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The World Health Organization (WHO) said Friday that it expects the Covid-19 pandemic to last less than the 1918 Spanish flu pandemic, which killed tens of millions of people in two years.

"We hope to put an end to this pandemic in less than two years. Especially if we can join our efforts and make the most of the tools available and hope that we can have additional tools like vaccines, I think we can end this in a shorter period than the 1918 flu, "WHO chief Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus told a news conference.

The famous "Spanish flu" decimated 50 million people between 1918 and 1920, when malnutrition and tuberculosis made the population even more fragile.

And unlike the Sars-Cov-2 virus, at the origin of the Covid-19 pandemic that has killed nearly 795,000 people worldwide since the first cases were reported in late 2019 in China, the Spanish flu had affected especially the younger ones.

"In our current situation, ... the virus is more likely to spread. It can move quickly because we are now more connected," said the WHO chief.

"So we have a disadvantage linked to globalization (...) But we have the advantage of having better technologies," he said. "And we know how to stop it."

He also stressed that it is "fundamental" for countries to join forces and reiterated his call for "global solidarity and national unity."

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