The Director-General of the World Health Organisation Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus has called on countries to take more aggressive actions now, to avoid severe social and economic costs later.
In a speech given at yesterday’s media briefing he referred to vulnerable countries whose health systems may collapse under the number of cases where community transmission persists. Ghebreyesus said that asking people to stay home and shutting down population movement is only buying time but they will not extinguish the pandemic.
The Director-General presented a list of six key actions that they recommend in conjunction with existing lockdown measures. They are as follows:
“First, expand, train and deploy your health care and public health workforce;
Second, implement a system to find every suspected case at 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 COVID-19.”
These, he said are the best ways to suppress and stop transmission so that when restrictions are lifted, cases do not resurge.
Ghebreyesus then called on governments to listen to the elderly, those most at risk from COVID-19.
“Older people carry the collective wisdom of our societies. They are valued and valuable members of our families and communities…We need to work together to protect older people from the virus and to ensure their needs are being met- for food, fuel, prescription medication and human interaction.”
He added that we need to check in regularly on older parents, neighbours, friends or relatives that live alone, in whatever way is possible “so they know how much they are loved and valued.”
During his speech, Ghebreyesus referred to the earlier announcement from Secretary-General of the United Nations Antonio Guterres who called for a global ceasefire.
“We are all facing a common threat, and the only way to defeat it is by coming together as one humanity, because we’re one human race,” he said.
Ghebreyesus reminded the media that “we have lost more than 16,000 lives. We know we will lose more- how many more will be determined by the decisions we make and the actions we take now.”