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COVID-19 Pandemic Continues To Be A Public Health Emergency Of International Concern, Say WHO Experts

While many nations including India are relaxing public health and social measures against coronavirus, the World Health Organization’s group of experts said that COVID-19 is still a global emergency

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COVID-19 Pandemic Continues To Be A Public Health Emergency Of International Concern, Say WHO Experts
Countries should scale up their public health and social measures to fight the pandemic rapidly, said WHO
Highlights
  • Protect yourself by getting vaccinated and boosted when recommended: WHO
  • Continue wearing masks, especially in crowded indoor spaces: WHO
  • When indoors, keep windows & doors open, invest in good ventilation: WHO

New Delhi: According to the World Health Organization (WHO), the number of new coronavirus cases and deaths reported to it from across the world has fallen for a third consecutive week. However, the WHO experts have warned that this decrease should be interpreted with caution as many countries have changed their testing strategies, leading to the dentification of fewer cases. Countries including India have also relaxed public health and social measures against COVID-19. The WHO’s emergency committee on Covid unanimously affirmed on Wednesday (April 13) that the virus remains a major public health danger and insisted that countries must stop dropping their guard.

Also Read: Symptoms Of New COVID Variant XE: 10 Things To Know

The WHO experts stressed that the world is still in the middle phase of the pandemic and it IS far from being at an end. Didier Houssin, Chair of WHO’s emergency committee on Covid said,

Pandemic still constitutes a public health emergency of international concern- the highest level of alert that the WHO can sound. Now is not the time to let our guard down – on the contrary, and this is an extremely strong recommendation. The situation is far from over with regard to the COVID-19 pandemic, the circulation of the virus is still very active, mortality remains high and the virus is evolving in an unpredictable way. Now is not the time for relaxation on this virus, nor weakness in surveillance, testing and reporting, nor laxity in public and social health measures and no resignation when it comes to vaccination.

Also Read: COVID-19: New Variant Called XE Found In UK, Here’s All You Need To Know

COVID-19 Vaccination Is A Key Tool To Reduce Morbidity And Mortality: WHO

Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, Director-General of WHO has urged people to get vaccinated, continue wearing masks, especially in crowded indoor spaces and ensure good ventilation for indoors. He said,

This virus has over time become more transmissible and it remains deadly especially for the unprotected and unvaccinated that do not have access to health care and antivirals. It is a key tool to reduce morbidity and mortality.

WHO’S Recommendations On Tackling COVID-19

WHO’s expert committee has said that the following actions are critical for all countries:

  • Achieve national COVID-19 vaccination targets in line with global WHO recommendations of at least 70 per cent of all countries’ populations vaccinated by the start of July 2022.
  • Countries should scale up their public health and social measures to fight the pandemic rapidly in response to changes in the virus and the population immunity.
  • Take a risk-based approach to mass gathering events by evaluating, mitigating, and communicating risks. Recognising that there are different drivers and risk tolerance for mass gatherings, it is critical to consider the epidemiological context (including the prevalence of variants of concern and the intensity of transmission), surveillance, contact tracing and testing capacity, as well as adherence to public health and social measures when conducting this risk assessment and planning events.
  • Countries should collect and publicly share indicators to monitor the burden of COVID-19 such as new hospitalizations, admissions to intensive care units, and deaths.
  • Countries should enhance access to health, including through the restoration of health services at all levels and strengthening of social systems to cope with the impacts of the pandemic, especially on children and young adults.

Also Read: COVID-19 Pandemic Plunged 77 Million More People Into Extreme Poverty In 2021: United Nations

NDTV – Dettol have been working towards a clean and healthy India since 2014 via Banega Swachh India initiative, which is helmed by Campaign Ambassador Amitabh Bachchan. The campaign aims to highlight the inter-dependency of humans and the environment, and of humans on one another with the focus on One Health, One Planet, One Future – Leaving No One Behind. It stresses on the need to take care of, and consider, everyone’s health in India – especially vulnerable communities – the LGBTQ populationindigenous people, India’s different tribes, ethnic and linguistic minorities, people with disabilities, migrants, geographically remote populations, gender and sexual minorities. In wake of the current COVID-19 pandemic, the need for WASH (WaterSanitation and Hygiene) is reaffirmed as handwashing is one of the ways to prevent Coronavirus infection and other diseases. The campaign will continue to raise awareness on the same along with focussing on the importance of nutrition and healthcare for women and children, fight malnutrition, mental wellbeing, self care, science and health, adolescent health & gender awareness. Along with the health of people, the campaign has realised the need to also take care of the health of the eco-system. Our environment is fragile due to human activity,  that is not only over-exploiting available resources, but also generating immense pollution as a result of using and extracting those resources. The imbalance has also led to immense biodiversity loss that has caused one of the biggest threats to human survival – climate change. It has now been described as a “code red for humanity.” The campaign will continue to cover issues like air pollutionwaste managementplastic banmanual scavenging and sanitation workers and menstrual hygiene. Banega Swasth India will also be taking forward the dream of Swasth Bharat, the campaign feels that only a Swachh or clean India where toilets are used and open defecation free (ODF) status achieved as part of the Swachh Bharat Abhiyan launched by Prime Minister Narendra Modi in 2014, can eradicate diseases like diahorrea and the country can become a Swasth or healthy India. 

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