COVID-19 cases reach 4 Million worldwide
DPI, Guyana, Monday, May 11, 2020
As of today, the World Health Organisation (WHO) has recorded more than four million cases of COVID-19 in 215 countries worldwide, with 278, 993 deaths were recorded.
In his media briefing today, Director-General, Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus noted that while there has been a great deal of success in slowing down the spread of the coronavirus in some countries, for others, the numbers are growing significantly.
The Director-General revealed that over the past week several countries have begun lifting stay-at-home orders and other restrictions in a phased manner.
Many have used the ‘lock-down’ period to ramp up their ability to test, trace, isolate and care for patients. This is viewed as the best way to track the virus, slow the spread and take the burden off the health systems.
However, Dr. Ghebreyesus noted that while in there have been many successes in the slowing down of cases and saving lives, such strong measures have come at a cost and the serious socio-economic impact of the lockdowns have had a detrimental effect on many people’s lives.
“Therefore, to protect lives and livelihoods, a slow, steady, lifting of lockdowns is key to both stimulating economies, while also keeping a vigilant eye on the virus so that control measures can be quickly implemented if an upswing in cases is identified.”
He pointed out indications of the challenges that may lie ahead as a result of lifting restrictions in three specific countries.
In the Republic of Korea, bars and clubs were shut as a confirmed case led to many contacts being traced. In Wuhan, China, the first cluster of cases since their lockdown was lifted was identified. Germany has also reported an increase in cases since the easing of restrictions.
Fortunately, he said all three countries have systems in place to detect and respond to a resurgence in COVID-19 cases.
“Early serological studies reflect that a relatively low percentage of the population has antibodies to COVID-19, which means most of the population is still susceptible to the virus. WHO is working closely with governments to ensure that key public health measures remain in place to deal with the challenge of lifting lockdowns.”
Dr. Ghebreyesus added that until there a vaccine is available; the comprehensive package of measures is the most effective set of tools to tackle the virus. As such, new guidance was released regarding both schools and workplace reopening.
On children going back to school, decision-makers should reflect on several key factors when deciding on whether and how to reopen schools:
- First, a clear understanding of current COVID-19 transmission and the severity of the virus in children is needed.
- Second, the epidemiology of COVID-19 where the school is geographically located needs to be considered.
- Third, the ability to maintain COVID-19 prevention and control measures within the school setting.
Dr. Ghebreyesus cautioned that when considering the reopening of schools, the local government should assess the capacity of the institutions to maintain infection, prevention and control measures,
WHO has also issued detailed new workplace guidelines, which recommend all places of work carry out a risk assessment for workers potential exposure to COVID-19. This includes the implementation of measures to prevent the spread of the virus.
As part of the guidelines, workplaces should develop action plans for the prevention and mitigation of COVID-19 as part of their overall business plan. The plan should also include measures for protecting health, safety, and security in re-opening, closing and modifying workplaces.