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Chronic global shortage of protective gear for health workers an urgent threat amid Covid-19: WHO chief

Hemani Sheth Mumbai | Updated on March 28, 2020

The dire need of protective gear for healthcare workers across the globe is one of the most urgent threats in the fight against the coronavirus pandemic the Director-General of the World Health Organization, Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said on Friday.

“The chronic global shortage of personal protective equipment is now one of the most urgent threats to our collective ability to save lives,” the WHO chief said at a press briefing.

WHO in order to manage the increasing requirements has shipped almost 2 million individual items of protective gear to 74 countries wit urgent requirements. It is also planning to send the same amount of gear to 60 more countries.

However, according to Ghebreyesus, more amount of protective equipment is required in order to ensure that healthcare workers across countries are not at risk of contracting Covid-19.

“Health workers in low- and middle-income countries deserve the same protection as those in the wealthiest countries,” said Ghebreyesus.

“When health workers are at risk, we’re all at risk,” he said.

The WHO chief also highlighted common measures that have worked well for multiple countries in combatting the pandemic that was discussed amid WHO’s meeting with G20 countries as well as with their briefing with around 50 Ministers of Health from across the globe including China, Japan, the Republic of Korea and Singapore who shared their experiences and the lessons they have learned.

“Several common themes emerged about what has worked: The need for early detection and isolation of confirmed cases; Identification, follow-up and quarantine of contacts; The need to optimize care; And the need to communicate to build trust and engage communities in the fight,” Ghebreyesus further said.

Over 5,12,000 confirmed cases of coronavirus have been reported worldwide so far with the death toll surpassing 23,400 according to WHO.

Published on March 28, 2020

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