THE World Health Organization (WHO) has advised the general public to keep on observing basic preventative measures as it remains the key in reducing the number of COVID-19 infections across the globe.
Dr Maria Van Kerhove, WHO Technical Lead COVID-19 said Africa is one of the continents that has been witnessing the rise in COVID-19 cases in the past few days.
We need to be blunt when we need to be blunt. We are not in a good place. In Africa there was a 16.7% increase in cases in the last seven days.
There was 16.4% increase in the Eastern Mediterranean region. A 33% increase in cases across Europe. An 8.6% increase in South-East Asia. A 10% increase in the western Pacific. There are more than two dozen countries that have epidemic curves that are almost vertical right now. This is not the situation we should be in when we have tools at hand.
“There are four major factors that are driving transmission. One is the virus itself. This is a dangerous virus to begin with. Now we have these virus variants that have increased transmissibility. The second factor is mixing. We know that the social mixing, the social mobility of people is increasing around the world. These events around the world drive transmission because you bring people together if the right interventions are not in place,” Dr Van Kerkhove said.
She added that people should try their level best in practising the WHO guidelines which includes masking up.
“The third factor is reduced use, inappropriate use of public health and social measures. The use of these measures does not mean lockdown. It’s a combination of interventions at the individual level, to the community level, and it covers everything from wearing of masks, physical distancing, avoiding these crowded indoor spaces. Spending more time outdoors than indoors, improving ventilation and keeping your hands clean.
“The last factor that’s challenging us right now is the inequitable and uneven distribution of vaccines. If you have variants concern that are circulating, if you have increase social mobility and social mixing, if you have inappropriate use of public health and social measures, and you have a very susceptible population- the virus will thrive. We have the upper hand here let’s use the tools that we have to keep transmission down and really be smart. Play it safe. Do what we can at individual level measures. Have really strong policies that are agile that adapt to the local situation. The virus has a hold over us right now and we need to regain control over the virus,” Dr Kerkhove.