WHO warns that countries cannot “pretend” the pandemic is finished

By - World Healthcare Journal

The World Health Organisation on Monday urged countries to continue to maintain and implement safety measures against Covid-19 amidst growing fears of a second wave in many nations around the globe.

Dr Tedros acknowledged the impact which lockdown measures and mandatory closures have had on livelihoods and economies, but maintained the need to continue preventing the spread of coronavirus as being absolutely paramount.

WHO fully supports efforts to re-open economies and societies. We want to see children returning to school and people returning to the workplace – but we want to see it done safely. At the same time, no country can just pretend the pandemic is over,” he says.

“The reality is that this coronavirus spreads easily, it can be fatal to people of all ages, and most people remain susceptible. ”

Dr Tedros went on to outline “four essential things” which all nations, communities, and individuals should continue to maintain in order to help prevent the spread of coronavirus.

The first of the four is stopping “amplifying events” such as events at stadiums, nightclubs, places of worship, and large crowds. However, Tedros also noted that social gatherings could be done “safely” and that “creative ways” of socialising such as semi-virtual events are still important for the foreseeable future.

“Countries or communities experiencing significant community transmission may need to postpone events for a short time to reduce transmission.

On the other hand, countries or communities with sporadic cases or small clusters can find creative ways to hold events while minimizing risk,” Dr Tedros says.

The second aspect is reducing deaths from Covid-19 by placing extra protection around particularly vulnerable groups, such as those in care homes, essential workers and people who had previously been “shielding” due to various health conditions.

“By protecting those who are most at risk, countries can save lives, prevent people becoming severely ill, and take the pressure off their health systems,” Dr Tedros says.

The third essential directive focuses on ensuring that individuals play their part in preventing the spread of the virus, through adhering to hygiene rules, social distancing measures, and mask-wearing.

Lastly, the fourth piece of WHO advice is making sure that governments play their part in taking measures to test and trace, isolate those who have been exposed to the virus, and intervening on a local level when cases spike, in order to prevent a widespread lockdown.

In his closing remarks, Dr Tedros also mentioned the continuing work which WHO is doing in Beirut, to assist with the recovery from the enormous explosion which rocked Lebanon’s capital a month ago.

“Although Beirut is no longer in the headlines, WHO is continuing to support Lebanon in the wake of the blast four weeks ago, which left more than 6,500 people injured, 300,000 people homeless, and severely damaged critical health infrastructure and medical supplies,” he says.

“WHO and our partners are providing care for the injured, making sure everyone has access to basic and life-saving health services, providing mental health support for health workers and communities, and rebuilding destroyed hospitals. ”

“Above all, national unity and global solidarity are essential. This virus thrives when we’re divided. When we’re united, we can defeat it. ”

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