The World Health Organisation has warned that Covid -19 pandemic was a public health emergency of international concern and would be lengthy. The Emergency Committee on COVID-19 convened under the WHO came out with the statement even as the positive coronavirus cases stood at 1,80,33,990 and deaths reached about 6.89 lakh on August 2.
WHO Director General Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said that the pandemic was a once-in-a-century health crisis and the effects of which would be felt for decades to come. He also mentioned that many countries that believed they were past the worst were now grappling with new outbreaks. “Some that were less affected in the earliest weeks are now seeing escalating numbers of cases and deaths. And some that had large outbreaks have brought them under control,” he said while addressing the fourth meeting of Emergency Committee on COVID-19. The meeting was convened by the WHO Chief under the International Health Regulations (2005) (IHR),
The Committee made a range of recommendations to both WHO and State Parties. The WHO had accepted the recommendations of the committee.
It asked the WHO to continue to mobilize global and regional multilateral organizations and partners for COVID-19 preparedness and response, to support Member States in maintaining health services, while accelerating the research and eventual access to diagnostics, therapeutics, and vaccines. It advised countries to support these research efforts, including through funding, and to join in efforts to allow equitable allocation of diagnostics, therapeutics and vaccines by engaging in the Access to COVID-19 Tools (ACT) Accelerator among other initiatives.
The committee also advised countries to strengthen public health surveillance for case identification and contact tracing, including in low-resource, vulnerable, or high-risk settings and to maintain essential health services with sufficient funding, supplies, and human resources.
Countries were advised to implement proportionate measures and advice on travel, based on risk assessments, and to review these measures regularly.