Stating that Corona 19 pandemic continued to and that the total number of cases had roughly doubled, the World Health Organisation said that the Governments should adopt a much more focused approach to stopping coronavirus transmission if they want to avoid having to impose sweeping lockdowns once again.
“It’s very understandable that no country in the world that’s been through a lockdown wants to go back there, who wants to go back there, there are huge economic and other consequences,” said WHO Health Emergencies Programme Executive Director Dr Michael Ryan.
He pointed out that one can be very precise in the response if one understood the dynamics of transmission and was very precise in disease understanding, “It’s like in surgery, if you think about people who have brain surgery, surgeons very often use microscopes so that they can actually work at a much finer level. And we’ve seen huge increases in the numbers of people surviving from brain surgery because we are much precise in the surgery we can carry out,” he said.
Reiterating the need for continued vigilance against the disease and the need for authorities to ramp up tracking and tracing of contacts, WHO Director General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said that July 30 marked six months since the UN agency declared COVID-19 a public health emergency of international concern.
Pointing out that this was the sixth time a global health emergency was declared under the International Health Regulations, he said “it is easily the most severe” the WHO Director General said this during a virtual press conference at WHO headquarters in Geneva.
“The pandemic continues to accelerate and the total number of cases has roughly doubled in the past six weeks,” Tedros said.
He also mentioned that Thailand, Cambodia, Rwanda, New Zealand, islands in the Pacific and Caribbean and Viet Nam had prevented large scale outbreaks by respecting transmission reduction measures “carefully and consistently”. He also said that Canada, Germany, Republic of Korea and China deserved praise in bringing large outbreaks under control.
He said that remaining determined to stop the virus in its tracks was key to ending transmission. “Although our world has changed, the fundamental pillars of the response have not: political leadership, and informing, engaging and listening to communities. Nor have the basic measures needed to suppress transmission and save lives: find, isolate, test and care for cases; and trace and quarantine their contacts,” the WHO Chief said.
He also reiterated that there should not be any compromise in taking safety measures to overcome COVID-19. “Keep your distance from others, clean your hands, avoid crowded and enclosed areas, and wear a mask where recommended. Where these measures are followed, cases go down. Where they’re not, cases go up,” he said.
Technical lead COVID-19, WHO Health Emergencies Programme, Dr Maria Van Kerkhove said that the world’s “new normal” meant knowing where the virus is “each and every day, where we live, we work, where we want to travel. That’s going to be part of how we move forward with this, finding the balance between keeping the virus transmission low and resuming normal activities.”
She also highlighted the mental health impact of such measures on individuals, families and communities. “Everyone is going through this and I think it’s important that we find different ways to talk about this with each other, whether this within our family, with our loved ones, whether it’s older individuals who are kept isolated, kept separate from the family, whether it’s our kids,” she said.