Many Governments Handling COVID-19 Carelessly and Infections Could Spike Warns WHO Director

A number of countries could be headed for trying times ahead regarding COVID-19 infections following indications that most citizens in various countries were flouting World Health Organisation set COVID-19 prevention guidelines. 

By Michael Gwarisa

In his remarks  during a media briefing, World Health Organization (WHO) Executive Director, Dr Tedros Ghebreyesus urged leaders to be vigilant and consistent in communicating the COVI-19 message.

Let me blunt, too many countries are headed in the wrong direction. The virus remains public enemy number one, but the actions of many governments and people do not reflect this. The only aim of the virus is to find people to infect. Mixed messages from leaders are undermining the most critical ingredient of any response: trust.

“If governments do not clearly communicate with their citizens and roll out a comprehensive strategy focused on suppressing transmission and saving lives; If populations do not follow the basic public health principles of physical distancing, hand washing, wearing masks, coughing etiquette and staying at home when sick; If the basics aren’t followed, there is only one way this pandemic is going to go. It’s going to get worse and worse and worse. But it does not have to be this way, said Dr Tedros.

He called on leaders to stop the flip flopping and concentrate of saving lives.

“Every single leader, every single government and every single person can do their bit to break chains of transmission and end the collective suffering. I am not saying it’s easy; it’s clearly not.

“I know that many leaders are working in difficult circumstances. I know that there are other health, economic, social and cultural challenges to weigh up. Just today, the latest edition of the State of Food Security and Nutrition in the World was published, which estimates that almost 690 million people went hungry in 2019.”

He also said even though it may be too soon to assess the full impact of COVID-19, indications are that 130 million more people may face chronic hunger by the end of this year.

“There are no shortcuts out of this pandemic. We all hope there will be an effective vaccine, but we need to focus on using the tools we have now to suppress transmission and save lives. We need to reach a sustainable situation where we have adequate control of this virus without shutting down our lives entirely, or lurching from lockdown to lockdown; which has a hugely detrimental impact on societies.”

Meanwhile, Dr Tedros added that says there will be no return to the “old normal” for the foreseeable future and the world needs to adjust to the new normal whereby physical distancing, wearing of masks and maintain hygiene in the new normal while governments work towards controlling spread of the disease.

“There will be no return to the “old normal” for the foreseeable future. But there is a roadmap to a situation where we can control #COVID19 and get on with our lives.

“But this is going to require three things. First, there should be focus on reducing mortality and suppressing transmission, second an empowered, engaged community that takes individual behavior measures in the interest of each other.

“Thirdly, we need strong government leadership and coordination of comprehensive strategies that are communicated clearly and consistently. It can be done; it must be done. I have said it before and I will keep saying it, we weren’t prepared collectively but we must use all the tools we have to bring this pandemic under control and we need to do it right now,” said Dr Tedros.

He added that there is to accelerate the science as quickly as possible so as to find joint solutions to COVID-19 and through solidarity, build a cohesive global response.




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