WHO calls for urgent, aggressive actions to combat COVID-19 as cases soar

The World Health Organization on March 17 called on member states in South-East Asia Region to urgently scale-up aggressive measures to combat COVID-19, as confirmed cases cross 480, and the disease claims eight lives

Mar 17, 2020
a

The World Health Organization on March 17 called on member states in South-East Asia Region to urgently scale-up aggressive measures to combat COVID-19, as confirmed cases cross 480, and the disease claims eight lives.  Eight of the 11 countries of WHO South-East Asia Region have confirmed cases of COVID-19. While Thailand has 177 confirmed cases, Indonesia 134, India 125, Sri Lanka 19, Maldives 13, Bangladesh 5, Nepal and Bhutan one each. These numbers are increasing quickly.  

“The situation is evolving rapidly. We need to immediately scale up all efforts to prevent the virus from infecting more people,” said Dr Poonam Khetrapal Singh, Regional Director, WHO South-East Asia Region, said in a press statement. 


“More clusters of virus transmission are being confirmed. While this is an indication of an alert and effective surveillance, it also puts the spotlight on the need for more aggressive and whole of society efforts to prevent further spread of COVID-19. We clearly need to do more, and urgently,” the Regional Director said.

Looking at the numbers, some countries are clearly heading towards community transmission of COVID-19, the Regional Director said, adding this should best be prevented.

Of critical importance are continued efforts to detect, test, treat, isolate and trace contacts.

Simple public health measures are critical. Practicing hand hygiene, covering your cough and sneeze, and practicing social distancing cannot be emphasized enough, Dr Khetrapal Singh said. “This alone has the potential to substantially reduce transmission.”

However, if community transmission does set in, countries would need to gear their responses to slow down transmission, as well as end outbreaks.

Emergency mechanism would then need to be further scaled up. A network of health facilities and hospitals for triage and surge would need to be activated to avoid overcrowding.

Self-initiated isolation by people with mild diseases would continue to be the most important community intervention to reduce the burden on health system and reduce virus transmission.

Testing of all suspected cases, symptomatic contacts of probable and confirmed cases, would still be needed.

“We need to be geared to respond to the evolving situation with the aim to stop transmission of COVID-19 at the earliest to minimize the impact of the virus that has gripped over 150 countries in a short span of time, causing substantial loss to health of people, societies, countries and economies. Urgent and aggressive measures are the need of the hour. We need to act now,” she said.
 
Media contact:

Shamila Sharma, WHO South-East Asia Regional Office, Public Information and Advocacy Officer, sharmasha@who.int, +91 981 828 7256

a

India's stark inequalities make social distancing much easier for some than others

With the coronavirus pandemic continuing its spread around the world, the Indian prime minister, Narendra Modi, announced a three-week complete nationwide lockdown of 1.3 billion people on March…

SPS-IHC

Soleimani killing will lead to reprisal, increase chances of regional conflict: Dilip Hiro

After the targeted killing of Major General Qassem Soleimani, commander of Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC) Quds Force by the US, the Persian Gulf nation is not going to sit silent…

Tweets about SAMonitor
SAM Facebook
INDIA REVIEW & ANALYSIS

March 15, 2020 | Volume 4 | Issue 4

March 15, 2020 | Volume 4 | Issue 3