WHO says “lockdown” not enough; urges aggressive isolation, testing, treatment and tracing of cases

(File photo) This handout picture made available by World Health Organization (WHO) shows WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus (L) speaking during a virtual press briefing on the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) virus at the WHO headquaters in Geneva on March 16, 2020. – The head of the World Health Organization called for every suspected coronavirus case to be tested, as countries across Europe tightened their lockdowns and global stock markets tumbled again. “You cannot fight a fire while blindfolded” said WHO chief Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus told journalists. “Test, test, test. Test every suspected case.” (Photo by Christopher Black / World Health Organization / AFP) 


(Eagle News) – The head of the World Health Organization (WHO) urged countries currently implementing a lockdown, to go one step further in attacking the virus spread by strengthening and expanding the public health force and to aggressively “isolate, test, treat and trace” coronavirus cases.

“We have overcome many pandemics and crises before. We will overcome this one too. The question is how large a price we will pay?” said Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, Director-General of the World Health Organization in his latest remarks as virus cases continued to spike across the globe.

Dr. Tedros recommended six key actions, noting that shutting down populations through a lockdown might buy time, but not won’t extinguish the pandemic.

The coronavirus has so far killed more than 24,000 patients and infected more than 531,000 people globally, based on the latest data from the Johns Hopkins University.

-6 key actions recommended-

“Asking people to stay at home and shutting down population movement is buying time and reducing the pressure on health systems. But on their own, these measures will not extinguish epidemics,” he said.

“There are six key actions that we recommend:

First, expand, train and deploy your health care and public health workforce;

Second, implement a system to find every suspected case at community level;

Third, ramp up the production, capacity and availability of testing;

Fourth, identify, adapt and equip facilities you will use to treat and isolate patients;

Fifth, develop a clear plan and process to quarantine contacts;

And sixth, refocus the whole of government on suppressing and controlling COVID-19.

These measures are the best way to suppress and stop transmission, so that when restrictions are lifted, the virus doesn’t resurge,” he said in his opening remarks at a media briefing on March 25.

Dr. Tedros said that “the last thing any country needs is to open schools and businesses, only to be forced to close them again because of a resurgence.”

“Aggressive measures to find, isolate, test, treat and trace are not only the best and fastest way out of extreme social and economic restrictions – they’re also the best way to prevent them,” he said.

“We call on all countries who have introduced so-called “lockdown” measures to use this time to attack the virus,” the WHO chief said.

“You have created a second window of opportunity. The question is, how will you use it?”

(Eagle News Service)