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Dr David Nabarro, the WHO's special envoy for Covid-19, suggested we may be "just passing the halfway mark" of the pandemic, with a number of dangerous new variants still to emerge.

asked about the comparisons, dr nabarro said : "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.

"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.

Asked whether the end of the pandemic is in sight for the countries in Europe, Dr Nabarro said : "The end is in sight, but how long is it going to take to get there?

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."

he added : "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.

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

Parallels between coronavirus and influenza are being drawn in the UK now that Omicron is causing around the same number of deaths as a bad flu season. The UK Health Security Agency estimates the number of flu deaths was around 15,000 in 2016/17, with abo

Last week PM Boris Johnson told 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."

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

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."

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

At a press conference in Germany yesterday ( Mon ), WHO head Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said : "The COVID-19 pandemic is now entering its third year and we are at a critical juncture.

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

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

a government adviser said it is not certain the viruses become less severe over time.

Live COVID updates from the UK and around the world He also criticised politicians and those who continue to make "amazing predictions" claiming COVID should be treated like the flu- while the WHO has said global governments "should not suggest to people" that the "virus has suddenly got incredibly weak".

'so 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."

He said the world now has all the tools available to do so.

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.

There has been a warning from a health trust chief executive that Northern Ireland is still very much in the middle of the pandemic.

She says it will take years to rebuild the health service.

A virologist has also warned that governments must learn from past mistakes and begin preparing for the next pandemic.

Speaking from inside a laboratory where scientists are testing Covid treatments, Dr Broadbent said there was still plenty of evidence of Covid around the world.

He also said there was a lot that could be done, including improving indoor air quality and air filtration.

For Prof Colbourn, while we have all had what he calls a "pretty grim time" he considers that because of the vaccines, antiviral drugs, and protection from prior infection, it will get "less grim each year".

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