By; MATTHEW UKACHUNWA, Lagos
Countries that have taken a comprehensive approach in tackling Novel Coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic have suppressed transmission and saved lives.
The WHO recommended comprehensive approach to fighting COVID-19 is: Find, isolate, test and care for every case, trace and quarantine every contact, equip and train health workers, and educate and empower communities to protect themselves and others.
Director-general of World Health Organization (WHO), Dr. Tedros Gbebreyesus, said this in his opening remarks at a media briefing on COVID-19 on Wednesday.
According to Gbebreyesus, for the past week, the number of new cases has exceeded 160,000 on every single day.
He disclosed that as of 1st July 2020, more than 10.3 million cases of COVID-19 have been reported to WHO, and more than 506,000 deaths.
He said that 60 per cent of all cases of the worldwide disease so far have been reported just in the past month.
“We will never get tired of saying that the best way out of this pandemic is to take a comprehensive approach. Find, isolate, test and care for every case, trace and quarantine every contact, equip and train health workers and educate and empower communities to protect themselves and others.Not testing alone. Not physical distancing alone. Not contact tracing alone. Not masks alone. Do it all,” the WHO leader instructed.
He pointed out that countries that have adopted this comprehensive approach have suppressed transmission and saved lives.
He stated that flare-ups are to be expected as countries start to lift restrictions, and stressed thatcountries that have the systems in place to apply a comprehensive approach should be able to contain these flare-ups locally and avoid reintroducing widespread restrictions.
“However, we are concerned that some countries have not used all the tools at their disposal and have taken a fragmented approach.These countries face a long, hard road ahead,” Gbebreyesus warned.
He said that one of the lessons of the pandemic is that no matter what situation a country is in, it can be turned around.
“It’s never too late,” he said.”As you know, in March, Italy and Spain were the epicenter of the pandemic. At the peak of its epidemic, Spain had almost 10,000 cases a day, and Italy had more than 6,500 cases. But both countries brought their epidemics under control with a combination of leadership, humility, active participation by every member of society, and implementing a comprehensive approach.
“Both countries faced a daunting situation, but turned it around.The fastest way out of this pandemic is to follow the science and do what we know works: the comprehensive approach.”
Gbebreyesus disclosed that on the 1st and 2nd of this month, WHO held a second research and innovation forum, bringing together more than 1000 scientists from all over the world to take stock of the progress made so far, to discuss new research questions and knowledge gaps, and to define research priorities for the remainder of this year and beyond.
He declared: “Research and innovation have played a vital role since the beginning of the pandemic – and even before.”