WHO urges countries to quickly identify Covid-19 cases while easing restrictions

GENEVA (XINHUA) – The World Health Organisation (WHO) said on Friday that countries that lift restrictions and open their economies should be ready to quickly identify Covid-19 cases if they resurge.

“I think we’re going to be in a situation where we may need to lift some of these measures but be ready to quickly identify those cases,” said Dr Maria Van Kerkhove, technical lead on Covid-19 response at the WHO Health Emergencies Programme, at Friday’s press conference.

“There may be sort of a ‘push and pull’ for some time as we try to really work and suppress this virus across the globe,” she added.

She said that a number of countries are opening up their economies after having shown that they are able to suppress the transmission.

“The countries that are further along in this are countries across Asia, and we do see that countries like China, Japan, South Korea, Singapore have lifted some of these public health and social measures in a slow and controlled way.”

“We are learning from those countries who are slowly opening up their economies again,” she said.

“In Japan and in Singapore for example, they’ve seen outbreaks that are taking place in certain situations. Singapore right now is dealing with outbreaks in expat dormitories and dormitories where people live in close proximity to one another,” she noted, adding that Singapore has presented how they are trying to find all of those cases and suppress transmission even in closed settings.

According to Kerkhove, countries are improving their systems to identify the virus and the infected people through increasing capacity on both testing and contact tracing. Meanwhile, these countries also made sure of the availability of hospital beds to care for patients.

“So what we’re seeing is even though they are lifting some of these measures, they are quickly working to find cases, if those cases do resurge, so that they could try to suppress transmission again,” she explained.


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