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COVID-19: Six things countries must do to successfully tackle pandemic during lockdown – WHO

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Dr Tedros Ghebreyesus, World Health Organisation (WHO) Director-General, has urged countries that had introduced “lockdown” measures to use this time to attack Coronavirus (COVID-19).

Ghebreyesus gave the advice in a speech read at a news conference in Geneva, posted on the agency’s website.

The director-general said that no fewer than 16,000 lives had been lost to the virus.

“We know we will lose more – how many more will be determined by the decisions we make and the actions we take now.

“To slow the spread of COVID-19, many countries have introduced unprecedented measures, at a significant social and economic cost. They have closed schools and businesses, cancelled sporting events and asked people to stay home and stay safe.

“We understand that these countries are now trying to assess when and how they will be able to ease these measures.

“The answer depends on what countries do while these population-wide measures are in place.

“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. The point of these actions is to enable the more precise and targeted measures that are needed to stop transmission and save lives,’’ he said.

Ghebreyesus further advised countries that had adopted “lockdown” measures to take some actions to attack the virus.

According to him, the countries have created a second window of opportunity, but “the question is, how will you use it?

“There are six key actions that we recommend. First, expand, train and deploy your health care and public health workforce.

“Second, implement a system to find every suspected case at the community level; third, ramp up the production, capacity and availability of testing.

“Fourth, identify, adapt and equip facilities you will use to treat and isolate patients; fifth, develop a clear plan and process to quarantine contacts;

“And sixth, refocus the whole of government on suppressing and controlling the Coronavirus.’’

He said the measures were the best way to suppress and stop transmission so that when restrictions are lifted, the virus doesn’t resurge.

“The last thing any country needs is to open schools and businesses, only to be forced to close them again because of a resurgence.

“Aggressive measures to find, isolate, test, treat and trace are not only the best and fastest way out of extreme social and economic restrictions – they are also the best way to prevent them.

“More than 150 countries and territories still have fewer than 100 cases.’’

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