Lockdown not enough, says WHO chief

WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus has said that lockdowns, being implemented by several countries, including India and many South Asian nations, to combat COVID-19, will not be enough to eradicate the virus from the world

Mar 26, 2020
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WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus has said that lockdowns, being implemented by several countries, including India and many South Asian nations, to combat COVID-19, will not be enough to eradicate the virus from the world. He said “aggressive measures to find, isolate, test, treat and trace” is the “best and fastest way” to prevent this virus.

He also admonished governments for “wasting precious time” and “squandering the first window of opportunity”.

"To slow the spread of COVID-19, many countries introduced ‘lockdown’ measures. But on their own, these measures will not extinguish epidemics," Ghebreyesus said in his daily briefing Thursday. 

“We call on all countries to use this time to attack the coronavirus. You have created a 2nd window of opportunity

"Asking people to stay at home and shutting down population movement is buying time and reducing the pressure on health systems. But on their own, these measures will not extinguish epidemics," he added.

"Aggressive measures to find, isolate, test, treat and trace is not only the best and fastest way out of extreme social and economic restrictions, but they're also the best way to prevent them," the WHO chief added.

The number of people infected with the novel coronavirus worldwide has exceeded 400,000 with over 18,000 deaths.

“We squandered the first window of opportunity. The time to act was actually more than a month ago or two months ago," he said, adding that governments should stop wasting precious time needed to fight the coronavirus.

He added that the world has a second chance, as 150 countries have fewer than 100 reported cases and still have time to prepare.

He also listed out measures that each country should undertake:

Ramp up production of tests and increase availability

Expand, train and deploy health-care workers

Implement systems to find suspected cases

Identify facilities that can be transformed into coronavirus health centers

Develop plans to quarantine cases

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