The World Well being Group mentioned Friday that it’s nonetheless doable to carry coronavirus outbreaks under control, although case numbers have greater than doubled up to now six weeks.
WHO chief Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus mentioned the examples of Italy, Spain, South Korea and Dharavi (India’s biggest slum) confirmed that nevertheless dangerous an outbreak was, the virus might nonetheless be reined in by aggressive motion.
“Within the final six weeks, instances have greater than doubled,” Mr. Tedros advised a digital press convention in Geneva.
Nevertheless, “there are numerous examples from all over the world which have proven that, even when the outbreak could be very intense, it may well nonetheless be introduced again underneath management,” mentioned Mr. Tedros.
“And a few of these examples are Italy, Spain and South Korea, and even in Dharavi — a densely-packed space within the megacity of Mumbai — a robust concentrate on group engagement and the fundamentals of testing, tracing, isolating and treating all these which are sick is essential to breaking the chains of transmission and suppressing the virus,” he mentioned.
The novel coronavirus has killed at the very least 5,55,000 folks worldwide for the reason that outbreak emerged in China final December, based on a tally from official sources compiled by AFP on Friday.
Practically 123 lakh instances have been registered in 196 international locations and territories.
“Throughout all walks of life, we’re all being examined to the restrict,” Mr. Tedros mentioned, “from international locations the place there’s exponential progress, to locations which are loosening restrictions and now beginning to see instances rise. Solely aggressive motion mixed with nationwide unity and international solidarity can flip this pandemic round.”
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WHO emergencies director Mike Ryan careworn the significance of being vigilant for small outbreaks, which may “in a short time mushroom”.
He in contrast them to a forest hearth, saying a small one was arduous to see however simple to place out, whereas a big one was simple to identify, however very troublesome to extinguish.
The Irish epidemiologist mentioned that “blind reopening” from lockdowns whereas community-level transmission of the virus was nonetheless happening, would inevitably result in retrograde steps.
He mentioned that after lockdowns were lifted, “there was all the time the danger that the illness might bounce again”.
However by stamping out small outbreaks, “we are able to probably keep away from the worst of getting second peaks and having to have to maneuver backwards when it comes to lockdown”.
Mr. Ryan nonetheless added: “Settle for the truth that in our present scenario, it is vitally unlikely that we are able to eradicate or remove this virus.”
Altering tack, Mr. Tedros sounded one other warning, saying that the COVID-19 disaster had raised questions on humanity’s vulnerability to different threats.
“The disaster of rising anti-microbial resistance is a sluggish movement tsunami, the place regardless of the rise in resistant infections, the analysis and improvement of latest antibiotics has not caught up,” he mentioned. “Until we take fast and sustained motion, we threat a doomsday international state of affairs the place frequent accidents and sicknesses return to turn out to be main killers.”