COVID-19: Expect 'lengthy' pandemic WHO warns

Remigio Civitarese
Agosto 2, 2020

World Health Organization chief Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus at the emergency committee meeting said that the pandemic "is a once-in-a-century health crisis, the effects of which will be felt for decades to come".

The committee also advised countries to strengthen public health surveillance for case identification and contact tracing, including in low-resource, vulnerable, or high-risk settings and to maintain essential health services with sufficient funding, supplies, and human resources. "One of the challenges we face is convincing younger people of this risk", he said.

Saying that young people can be infected and can transmit the virus to others, Tedros stressed that young people must take the same precautions to protect themselves and others.

The WHO's Covid-19 technical lead Maria Van Kerkhove said Thursday that the organisation had reacted immediately to the first signs of the pandemic, mobilizing its forces to act and inform.

Many countries have reported that more than 40 percent of Covid-19-related deaths have been linked to long-term care facilities, and up to 80 per cent in some high-income countries.

The WHO also said, there is no "zero risk" strategy for countries easing global travel restrictions during the Covid-19 pandemic, and essential travel for emergencies should remain the priority, reports AFP.

"We are now at a crucial point in our response to COVID-19".

After a full discussion and review of the evidence, the Committee unanimously agreed that the outbreak still constitutes a public health emergency of global concern (PHEIC) and offered this advice to Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, WHO director-general.

"We know that habits are persistent, even if they aren't healthy".

Tedros also extended best wishes to all Muslims celebrating the annual Eidul Azha, which falls on Friday.

He congratulated the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia for the steps that were put in place to make the Hajj as safe as possible this year, calling it a "powerful demonstration of the kinds of measures that countries can - and must - take to adapt to the new normal".

"Serologic testing detects antibodies in the blood that indicate if a person has already been infected", said the World Health Organization chief.

"It's not easy, but it can be done".

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