According to the World Health Organization (WHO) while COVID-19 accelerates very fast, it decelerates much more slowly. In other words, the WHO says the trip down is much slower than the way up.
Dr. Tedros Adhanom head of the WHO explains that means control measures must be lifted slowly and with control. It cannot happen all at once. Control measures can only be lifted if the right public health measures are in place, including a significant capacity for contact tracing.
Dr. Adhanom announced the WHO will publish its updated strategic advice to countries struggling with the COVID-19 pandemic.
The new strategy summarizes what WHO has learned and charts the way forward including six criteria for countries as they consider lifting restrictions:
- That transmission is controlled
- That health system capacities are in place to detect, test, isolate and treat every case and trace every contact
- That outbreak risks are minimized in special settings like health facilities and nursing homes
- That preventive measures are in place in workplaces, schools and other places where it’s essential for people to go
- That importation risks can be managed
- That communities are fully educated, engaged and empowered to adjust to the “new norm”
WHO advises that every country implement a comprehensive set of measures to slow down transmission and save lives, with the aim of reaching a steady state of low-level or no transmission. A balance must be struck between measures that address the mortality caused by COVID-19 and by other diseases due to overwhelmed health systems, as well as the social-economic impacts.
Dr. Adhanom ended his daily brief saying “Our global connectedness means the risk of re-introduction and resurgence of the disease will continue. Ultimately, the development and delivery of a safe and effective vaccine will be needed to fully interrupt transmission.”
*** Story by Mo Fahim ***