If there are no more major Covid outbreaks after Omicron, the pandemic may see an end in 2022, the World Health Organisation (WHO) Representative in Russia has said.
However, it does not mean that the virus will vanish completely, Melita Vujnovic was quoted as saying in an interview with TASS news agency.
"It's hard to make predictions at the moment but we hope that if nothing else happens, the pandemic may end in 2022.
"What does an end to the pandemic mean? It means that there will be no major outbreaks, but it doesn't mean that the virus will vanish.
"A great number of cases means that the virus is capable of mutating so we don't know how the situation will unfold. However, there is cautious optimism that major outbreaks will end once Omicron spreads across the globe," she said.
According to Vujnovic, the WHO is trying to predict when it will happen, but it's difficult because countries "are now changing their testing strategies".
She said that the Omicron strain was very contagious and was spreading quickly, while some countries did not have the money to test everyone given the large number of patients without symptoms, the report said
"The picture that we are seeing does not fully reflect the exact number of cases as opposed to what things were like when the pandemic just broke out and the Delta strain started spreading," the WHO envoy said.
Several countries have seen a decline in Omicron variant-led Covid surge. The decrease in cases has also led to lifting restrictions. Sweden, Denmark, and Norway have all lifted Covid restrictions as they look to reclassify the virus as a disease that does not pose a threat to society. The UK and the US are soon likely to follow.
However many experts, including the WHO, have urged caution.
WHO Director General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus had recently stated "it's premature for any country either to surrender or to declare victory".