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Covid At Two years: WHO Lists Key Steps To Stop The Spread of New Variants

WHO has stressed that steps need to be taken to stop Covid and reduce the risk of transmission between animals and humans

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Covid At Two years: WHO Lists Key Steps To Stop The Spread of New Variants
COVID-19 was declared as pandemic on March 11, 2020

New Delhi: Exactly two years ago, on March 11 2020, the World Health Organization (WHO) declared COVID-19 a global pandemic. This was about two months after China first reported the cases of SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19, in Wuhan province. The virus quickly travelled around the world and caused a major global health crisis. The virus, that is said to have originated in bats and spilled over to the human population, has so far infected more than 45.3 crore people worldwide and caused the death of over 60.3 lakh people across the globe. According to scientists, there is still the potential for new and more severe variants to hit humans.

Also Read: BA.2 Sub-Variant Of Omicron Is More Transmissible Than BA.1, But Not More Severe, Says WHO

The World Health Organization has stressed that steps need to be taken to stop Covid and reduce the risk of transmission between animals and humans. It has said that although the COVID-19 pandemic is driven by human-to-human transmission, the SARS-CoV-2 virus is also known to infect animal species. According to WHO, the current knowledge indicates that wildlife does not play a significant role in the spread of Covid in humans, but spread in animal populations can affect the health of these populations and may facilitate the emergence of new virus variants. WHO said,

It said that to date, farmed mink and pet hamsters have been shown to be capable of infecting humans with the SARS-CoV-2 virus and a potential case of transmission between white-tailed deer and a human is currently under review.

Sounding a warning regarding the new variants of the coronavirus that might infiltrate more species and be transmitted to humans in even large numbers, Maria Van Kerkhove, WHO’s Technical lead for COVID-19 took to Twitter and said,

We must all take steps to reduce the spread of SARS-CoV-2 and reduce the risk of transmission between animals and humans.

 

Here are the steps recommended by the WHO to ensure that animal to human transmission does not happen:

  1. Encourage collaboration between national veterinary services and national wildlife authorities, whose partnership is key to promoting animal health and safeguarding human and environmental health.
  2. Promote monitoring of wildlife and encourage sampling of wild animals known to be potentially susceptible to SARS-CoV-2.
  3. Share all genetic sequence data from animal surveillance studies through publicly available databases.
  4. Report confirmed animal cases of SARS-CoV-2 to the World Organisation for Animal Health (formerly the Office International des Epizooties), an intergovernmental organisation with the mandate to improve animal health and welfare worldwide.
  5. Craft messages about SARS-CoV-2 in animals with care so that inaccurate public perceptions do not negatively impact conservation efforts. No animal found to be infected with SARS-CoV-2 should be abandoned, rejected, or killed without providing justification from a country- or event-specific risk assessment.
  6. Suspend the sale of captured live wild mammals in food markets as an emergency measure.

Also Read: Coronavirus Vaccine Glossary: 15 Terms To Know About Vaccination

NDTV and 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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