LONDON - The virus causing COVID-19 is here to stay but the world is beginning to transition out of the emergency phase of the pandemic, the World Health Organization's chief said on Wednesday.

Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus told a briefing that the U.N. agency will publish a guide for countries next week on how to move from an emergency response to the long-term management of COVID-19.

"We remain hopeful that sometime this year, we will be able to declare an end to COVID-19 as a public health emergency of international concern," said Tedros.

"But this virus is here to stay and all countries will need to learn to manage it alongside other infectious diseases."

(Reporting by Jennifer Rigby and Gabrielle Tétrault-Farber, Editing by Jane Merriman)