The coronavirus that is causing COVID-19, may never go away and people will have to learn with it, just as they have, with HIV, the World Health Organisation (WHO) has warned.

WHO emergencies director Dr Mark Ryan told a briefing on Wednesday that even if a vaccine is found, controlling the killer virus will require a "massive effort".

"It is important to put this on the table: this virus may become just another endemic virus in our communities, and this virus may never go away.

"HIV has not gone away - but we have come to terms with the virus," Dr Ryan told a virtual press from Geneva.

According to him, he does not believe anyone can predict when this virus will "disappear".

Although more than 100 potential vaccines for the coronavirus are in development, Dr Ryan cited other illnesses, such as measles, which are still around, despite the existence of vaccines against them.

The global infection toll of the coronavirus, which causes the diseases now known as COVID-19, has surpassed 4.4 million.

Almost 300,000 people have died from it, and in Malaysia, the infection and death tally stands at 6,779 and 111, respectively, as of Wednesday.

The grim warning comes amid the easing of lockdown by many countries hit by the pandemic.

Malaysia, for instance, has now enforced the Conditional Movement Control Order (MCO), which allows most economic sectors to reopen.

The government has also loosened previously imposed travel restrictions and even allowed visits of up to 20 people, within a state, for the upcoming Hari Raya Aidilfitri.