WHO's Ryan says eradication of new coronavirus is unlikely

News conference on the novel coronavirus in Geneva

GENEVA (Reuters) - Dr Mike Ryan, head of the World Health Organization's emergencies programme, said on Friday it was unlikely that the new coronavirus would be eliminated.

"In the current situation it is unlikely we can eradicate this virus," he told an online briefing from Geneva.

He said that, by extinguishing clusters of infection, the world could "potentially avoid the worst of having second peaks and having to move backwards in terms of lockdown".

(Reporting by Stephanie Nebehay and Michael Shields in Geneva; Writing by Kevin Liffey; Editing by Edmund Blair)