The World Health Organisation has stressed that COVID-19 has not become less potent as one Italian doctor has stated.
On Sunday, Alberto Zangrillo, head of the San Raffaele Hospital in Milan, claimed that coronavirus had disappeared in Italy. “In reality, the virus clinically no longer exists in Italy,” he said.
“The swabs that were performed over the last 10 days showed a viral load in quantitative terms that was absolutely infinitesimal compared to the ones carried out a month or two months ago,” he told television broadcaster RAI.
In response, the World Health Organisation released a statement urging people not to assume that COVID-19 has suddenly become less pathogenic.
“We need to be exceptionally careful not to create a sense that, all of a sudden, the virus, by its own volition, has now decided to be less pathogenic. It is not the case at all,” WHO emergencies director Michael Ryan said in a press briefing.
Health authorities in Italy have also stressed that the slowing numbers of new cases and deaths in the country should not be taken as a sign that the virus has lost its potency.
“Pending scientific evidence to support the thesis that the virus has disappeared … I would invite those who say they are sure of it not to confuse Italians,” Sandra Zampa, Italy’s undersecretary of the health ministry, said in a statement.
Zampa urged citizens to continue to abide by social distancing and exercise “maximum caution.”