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"but we 've still got a long, long way to trudge and it's going to be tough.

dr david nabarro said that the "it's as though we 're just passing the halfway mark in a marathon and we can see that, yes, there is an end and fast runners are getting through ahead of us.

'All governments everywhere should not suggest to people that the data have suddenly changed, or the viruses suddenly got incredibly weak.

"it's a new virus, and we must go on treating it as though it is full of surprises, very nasty and rather cunning." he warned.

When asked by Kay Burley whether the end of COVID could be on the horizon in Europe, Dr Nabarro said : "The end is in sight- but how long is it going to take to get there and what sort of difficulties will we face on the way?

"those are the questions that none of us can answer because this virus continues to give us challenges and surprises."

"so for me, if the end is in sight, that's good news.

Plan B restrictions will come to an end in England on Thursday with the relaxing of restrictions surrounding face masks, vaccine passports and working from home.

asked about health secretary sajid javid's comments that covid should be treated like the flu, dr nabarro told sky news : "i keep wondering what the people who make these amazing predictions know that i and my colleagues in the world health organisation don't know.

"you see, what people are seeing from around the world and reporting to the who is this is still a very, very dangerous virus, especially for people who have not been vaccinated and who 've not been exposed to it before.

"it can also mutate and form variants and we 've seen several but we know there are more not far away.

'so quite honestly, we are not saying that this should be considered to be like flu or indeed like anything else.

"all i'm asking every leader in the world to do is to help everybody stay focused on the job which is keeping this virus at bay, preventing people from getting infected if at all possible, and making certain that we are well prepared to deal with further surges as they come."

The World Health Organization today warned against comparing Covid to flu – just days after the UK Government said it intended to treat the two viruses the same.

David Nabarro, the WHO's special envoy for Covid, said the comparisons were irresponsible because they suggest coronavirus 'has suddenly got incredibly weak '.

David Nabarro, the WHO's special envoy for Covid, has warned against comparing Covid to flu

Last week, Boris Johnson signalled his intention to start treating Covid-19 more like flu, telling MPs : "There will soon come a time when we can remove the legal requirement to self-isolate altogether, just as we don't place legal obligations on people to isolate if they have flu.

and health secretary sajid javid said 'we need to learn to live with covid-19".

"Governments have got to set the direction and not shy away from that.

it came as tedros adhanom ghebreyesus, director general at the who, said the world was at a 'critical juncture' in the pandemic.

'we must work together to bring the acute phase of this pandemic to an end.

'The Covid pandemic is now entering its third year and we are at a critical juncture,' he told a press conference today.

"We can not let it continue to drag on, lurching between panic and neglect."

With Omicron spreading so widely, other variants could still emerge, he warned.

The WHO regional office for Africa also said last week that cases of Covid had plummeted in that region and deaths were declining for the first time since the Omicron-dominated fourth wave of the virus reached its peak.

'as covid becomes endemic, we will need to replace legal requirements with advice and guidance, urging people with the virus to be careful and considerate of others."

He told Sky News : 'Sadly people die of flu as well, in a bad flu year you can sadly lose about 20,000 lives but we don't shut down our entire country and put in place lots of restrictions to deal with it.

We need to continue with our lives with sensible, appropriate and proportionate measures."

"Because then we were seeing case numbers go up.

But politicians had short memories, he said, and he worries that we may stop preparing for the next pandemic once the immediate shock of coronavirus starts to fade from the national consciousness.

Dr Kluge said he did not think any new and emerging variants would require fresh lockdowns.

The professor of experimental medicine at Imperial College London told BBC Radio 4's Today programme : "The conclusion we have reached after many discussions is that we have no way of concluding that viruses have to become less severe over time.

"We know that vaccination or previous infection will give you immunity or reduce severity.

"The tendency is for reinfections to be milder, but I think we still have to take this disease very, very seriously.

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