WHO says COVID-19 its worst global health emergency
WHO emergencies programme head Mike Ryan said that nations around the world need to keep up strict health restrictions such as physical distancing.
The COVID-19 pandemic that has infected over 16 million people around the globe is easily the worst global health emergency the World Health Organization (WHO) has faced, its director general Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said on Monday.
He added that it was only with strict adherence to health measures --from wearing masks to avoiding crowds-- that the world would manage to beat it.
"Where these measures are followed, cases go down. Where they are not, cases go up," Tedros added at a virtual news briefing in Geneva, while praising Canada, China, Germany and South Korea for controlling outbreaks.
WHO emergencies programme head Mike Ryan said far more important than definitions of second waves, new peaks and localised clusters, was the need for nations around the world to keep up strict health restrictions such as physical distancing.
"What is clear is pressure on the virus pushes the numbers down. Release that pressure and cases creep back up," he said, acknowledging, however, that it was virtually impossible for nations to keep borders shut for the foreseeable future.
Tedros emphasized the priority remained saving lives. Resurgences of the coronavirus in various regions, including where nations thought they had controlled the disease, are alarming the world, with deaths nearing 650,000.
"We have to suppress transmission but at the same time we have to identify the vulnerable groups and save lives, keeping the death rates if possible to zero, if not to a minimum," he said, praising Japan and Australia in that respect.
"We are not prisoners of the #COVID19 pandemic. Every single one of us can make a difference. The future is in our hands.— World Health Organization (WHO) (@WHO) July 27, 2020
WHO remains totally committed to serving all people and all countries with science, solutions and solidarity"-@DrTedros pic.twitter.com/0CplMuVOOS
10,000 health workers infected in Africa
Earlier this week, the WHO also said in a statement that more than 10,000 healthcare workers in at least 40 countries in Africa have contracted the novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19). The organization pointed out the increasing risk of infection frontline healthcare workers face across the continent, with over 7,70,000 cases and 16,000 deaths in Africa as of July 23.
According to a report by Down To Earth Magazine, eighty four per cent of the continent’s healthcare facilities surveyed by the WHO were found to have poor infrastructure to prevent infections.
“The growth we are seeing in COVID-19 cases in Africa is placing an ever-greater strain on health services across the continent,” said Matshidiso Moeti, WHO’s regional director for Africa. “This has very real consequences for individuals who work in them and there is no more sobering an example of this than the rising number of healthcare worker infections."
(With input from agencies)