• Wednesday, May 29, 2024
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COVID-19 will be with us for a long time, says WHO


The World Health Organisation (WHO) has said that the Coronavirus disease (COVID-19) will remain for a long time, explaining that Africa, parts of America, and Eastern Europe have started experiencing a worrying upward trend in cases, while some are recording resurgence of infection.

WHO said though stay-at-home orders and other physical distancing measures have successfully suppressed transmission in many countries, it’s health measures must remain the backbone of the response in all countries.

“Make no mistake: we have a long way to go. This virus will be with us for a long time, Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, WHO Director-General said at a press conference in Geneva on Wednesday.

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The DG warned that the virus remains extremely dangerous.

Ghebreyesus informed that most of the epidemics in Western Europe appear to be stable or declining, while most countries are still in the early stages of their epidemics.

“We see different trends in different regions, and even within regions. Although numbers are low, we see worrying upward trends in Africa, Central, and South America, and Eastern Europe and some that were affected early in the pandemic are now starting to see a resurgence in cases,” the DG said.

He noted that globally, almost 2.5 million cases of COVID-19 have now been reported to WHO, and more than 160,000 deaths.

Ghebreyesus stressed the same public health measures WHO have been advocating since the beginning of the pandemic must remain the backbone of the response in all countries.

They are: Find every case; Isolate every case; Test every case; Care for every case; Trace and quarantine every contact; educate and empower citizens.

He said countries that don’t do these six central things and do them consistently, will see more cases, and more lives will be lost.

“To be clear, WHO’s advice is to find and test every suspected case, not every person in a population,” he added.

The DG further frowned at the disturbing reports in many countries, in all regions, about discrimination related to COVID-19.

He said stigma and discrimination are never acceptable anywhere at any time and must be fought in all countries.

“As I have said many times, this is a time for solidarity, not stigma,” Ghebreyesus said.

He further said complacency is one of the greatest dangers faced in tackling the pandemic.  The DG said People in countries with stay-at-home orders are understandably frustrated with being confined to their homes for weeks on end.

“People understandably want to get on with their lives, because their lives and livelihoods are at stake.

“That’s what WHO wants too. And that’s what we are working for, all day, every day. But the world will not and cannot go back to the way things were.

“There must be a “new normal” – a world that is healthier, safer, and better prepared,” the DG said.