The World Health Organization published its new two-year strategy for fighting COVID-19, seeking to help countries move from emergency mode to a long-term prevention and control strategy.
Tha aim is "to support countries as they transition from an emergency response to longer-term sustained COVID-19 disease prevention, control and management," WHO Director General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said.
The WHO said COVID-19 was here to stay and that countries would have to learn how to manage its ongoing non-emergency effects, including the post-COVID-19 condition known as Long COVID.
The new strategy for 2023-2025 will maintain the two goals of the previous plan, released in 2022; to reduce the circulation of COVID and to treat the virus to reduce mortality, morbidity and long-term consequences. But the new plan adds a third goal; "to support countries as they transition from an emergency response to longer-term sustained COVID-19 disease prevention, control and management".
The WHO release places strong emphasis on addressing Long COVID, which appears to arise in 6% of symptomatic cases, according to Tedros.
"This is why we urge countries to maintain sufficient capacity, operational readiness and flexibility to scale up during surges of COVID-19, while maintaining other essential health services and preparing for the emergence of new variants with increased severity or capacity," said the agency.
Continuing research into the virus and its effects was essential, the WHO said.