WHO urges South Asian countries to still be wary of Covid-19

Prashasti Awasthi Mumbai | Updated on October 20, 2020

The upcoming festival and winter/cold seasons threatens to aggravate the situation if we let our guards down, says WHO regional director

The World Health Organization (WHO) on Monday cautioned against any relaxation of response actions as the South Asian region witnesses a slight decline in Covid-19 cases.

WHO said the pandemic continues unabated and the world only needs to strengthen its response to curtail virus transmission, as per the WHO’s official release.

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Poonam Khetrapal Singh, Regional Director, WHO South-East Asia Region, said in an official statement: “There should be no complacency in view of the declining numbers in recent weeks. The Region still reports large numbers of Covid-19 cases. We need to continue to do our very best to curtail the pandemic.”

The upcoming festival season and the approaching winter/cold season threatens to aggravate the situation if we let our guards down, she said.

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The regional director believes that member countries are trying to make concerted efforts scaling up capacities for timely detection, testing, tracing contacts, isolating the affected and providing hospital care to those who need it. “Our relentless efforts need to continue with more vigour,” she said.

The WHO said this festival season, especially in India, South Asian countries must continue to take responsibility as individuals of the need to maintain physical distance, hand hygiene, cough etiquette and wear a mask when and where needed.

Three Cs

People must remember the three Cs - avoid crowded places, avoid closed settings and avoid confined and enclosed spaces with poor ventilation, WHO stated.

The multilateral organisation believes that the co-circulation of seasonal influenza and Covid-19 in the winters may present challenges for health systems and health facilities since both diseases present many similar symptoms.

Many of the same measures that are effective in preventing Covid-19 are also effective for preventing influenza, including physical distancing, hand hygiene, covering coughs, ventilation, and masks.

WHO said that it is working with countries to take a holistic approach to the preparedness, prevention, control and treatment of all respiratory diseases, including influenza and Covid-19.

WHO mentioned that for the third week in a row, the WHO South-East Asia region has registered 6-8 per cent decline in the number of Covid-19 cases, mainly due to a decrease in reported cases from India and Bangladesh.

Published on October 20, 2020

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