Spanish leader Pedro Sanchez has insisted it is time to start treating COVID-19 as an “endemic illness” like the flu.
“It’s a necessary debate. Science has given us the answer to protect ourselves,” the 49-year-old prime minister told radio station Cadena Ser on Monday, according to Bloomberg.
Sanchez cited the plunging death rate amid surging infections as proof that the threat “is not what we faced a year ago.”
He argued that it is time to stop recording every infection and testing everyone with symptoms, and instead start monitoring it more like a less deadly flu-like endemic illness.
“We have to evaluate the evolution of COVID from pandemic to an endemic illness,” he said.
Health Minister Carolina Darias has discussed the proposal with some of her counterparts in the European Union, Sánchez said without elaborating.
However, the World Health Organization’s senior emergency officer for Europe, Catherine Smallwood, cautioned that the time for such a shift is still “a way off.”
“We still have a huge amount of uncertainty and a virus that is evolving quite quickly, imposing new challenges. We are certainly not at the point where we are able to call it endemic,” Smallwood said.
“It may become endemic in due course, but pinning that down to 2022 is a little bit difficult at this stage.”
With Post wires