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Europe can live with COVID-19 with local lockdowns - WHO regional director

FILE PHOTO: WHO European director Hans Kluge gives status on the Danish handling of coronavirus during a press breefing in Eigtveds Pakhus, Copenhagen, Denmark March 27, 2020. Ida Guldbaek Arentsen/ Ritzau Scanpix/via REUTERS/File Photo

LONDON (Reuters) - Europe can live with COVID-19 without a vaccine by managing outbreaks with localised lockdowns, the World Health Organization’s director for the region said on Tuesday, adding he did not expect a return to full national-level restrictions.

“The day we are going to conquer the pandemic is not necessarily the vaccine. It is when we learn to live with the pandemic, and that can be tomorrow,” Hans Kluge, World Health Organization regional director for Europe, told Sky News.

Asked if he expected wholesale lockdowns in the coming months to avoid a second wave of infections, he said: “No.”

“I’m optimistic, but we cannot exclude localised lockdowns,” he said.

Reporting by Alistair Smout, Editing by Paul Sandle