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Six Months Of Fighting Coronavirus: Pandemic Is Speeding Up, Not Even Close To Being Over, Says WHO Chief

Six months ago, China first reported the outbreak of novel respiratory infection now being called as COVID-19 which has infected over 1 crore people and taken more than 5 lakh lives

Six Months Of Fighting Coronavirus: Pandemic Is Speeding Up, Not Even Close To Being Over, Says WHO Chief
  • June 30 marks the six months of world’s battle with Novel Coronavirus
  • Globally, the pandemic is actually speeding up: Dr Tedros, WHO
  • Dr Tedros suggested 5 focus points to prioritise to tide over COVID crisis

New Delhi: June 30 marks the six months anniversary of Novel Coronavirus. In December 2019, the World Health Organisation (WHO) received the first reports of a cluster of cases of pneumonia of unknown cause in China. Six months down the line, the COVID-19 cases across the world have crossed the 1 crore mark and the contagious virus has taken over 5 lakh lives. In a media briefing on Monday (June 29) – the eve of six months of COVID-19, Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, Director-General at the World Health Organisation (WHO) reflected on the progress the world has made and the lessons we have learned. Talking about the commitment to save lives, Dr Tedros said,

Six months ago, none of us could have imagined how our world and our lives would be thrown into turmoil by this new virus. The pandemic has brought out the best and the worst of humanity. All over the world, we have seen heart-warming acts of resilience, inventiveness, solidarity and kindness. But we have also seen concerning signs of stigma, misinformation, and the politicisation of the pandemic.

Also Read: Coronavirus Will Be With Us For A Long Time: World Health Organisation

WHO Chief talked about the unprecedented measures implemented by various countries to contain the spread of the coronavirus and saving lives. However, the fact is, measures like lockdown have been successful in slowing the spread of the virus rather than completely eradicating it, clarified Dr Tedros.

Some countries are now experiencing a resurgence of cases as they start to re-open their economies and societies. Most people remain susceptible. The virus still has a lot of room to move. We all want this to be over. We all want to get on with our lives. But the hard reality is: this is not even close to being over. Although many countries have made some progress, globally the pandemic is actually speeding up. We’re all in this together, and we’re all in this for the long haul, noted Dr Tedros.

In an effort to turn the tide, WHO Chief suggested five focus points which need to be prioritised by every country regardless of the stage of Coronavirus they are facing.

Also Read: Coronavirus Explainer: Why Is A Lockdown Important?

Five Priorities Suggested By WHO Director-General To Fight Against COVID-19

Empower Communities

Dr Tedros emphasised on empowering communities and making them understand that one’s health is in one’s own hands. An individual must follow basic protective and precautionary measures including physical distancing, hand hygiene, covering coughs, staying home if feeling sick, wearing masks when appropriate, and only sharing information from reliable sources.

You may be in a low-risk category, but the choices you make could be the difference between life and death for someone else, said Dr Tedros.

Suppress Transmission

Dr Tedros stressed on tracing and isolating contacts in order to break the chain of transmission of Coronavirus. He said, many countries have used non-health professionals to do contact tracing. He suggested every country to improve surveillance to find cases and ensure health workers have access to training and personal protective equipment (PPE).

Also Read: WHO Special Envoy Appreciates India For Keeping A Good Eye On Coronavirus Despite Low Testing When Compared To Other Countries

Save Lives

The world has already lost 5.5 lakh lives of which 1.26 have been reported in the United States. Dr Tedros believes that early identification and treatment can save lives. Praising Japan which has one of the highest populations of elderly people for having a low death rate, Dr Tedros said,

Provide oxygen and dexamethasone to people with severe and critical disease saves lives. And paying special attention to high-risk groups, including elderly people in long-term care facilities, saves lives.

Accelerate Research

In the last six months, the world has learned a lot about the new strain of Coronavirus but still, there is more to learn hence WHO recommends accelerating research.

This week we will convene a second meeting to assess progress on research and development and re-evaluate research priorities for the next stage of the pandemic, informed Dr Tedros.

Also Read: ‘Indians Know How To Do It’, Says WHO Special Envoy Appreciating India’s Quick Response To COVID-19

Political Leadership

As we have said repeatedly, national unity and global solidarity are essential to implementing a comprehensive strategy to suppress transmission, save lives and minimize the social and economic impact of the virus, said Dr Tedros.

At the media briefing, the WHO chief also informed about publishing an updated and detailed timeline of WHO’s response to the pandemic on its official website. WHO chief noted that the organisation has and is working with multiple partners to ramp up testing, get more information about the contagious virus and ensure whenever a vaccine against COVID-19 is available, it is available to everyone.

Dr Tedros called for greater stories of resilience, patience, humility and generosity and asked to not lose hope.

It’s also a time for all countries to renew their commitment to universal health coverage as the cornerstone of social and economic development – and to building the safer, fairer, greener, more inclusive world we all want, signed off Dr Tedors.

Also Read: We Can’t Expect Relaxations In Physical Distancing Anytime Soon: WHO’s Dr David Nabarro


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