WHO urges South-East Asia to continue caution against Covid-19

The South-East Asia region has reported over 8 million Covid-19 cases

New Delhi (NVI): The World Health Organization (WHO) has cautioned against any relaxation of response actions after the recent slight decline in COVID-19 cases in the South-East Asia Region.

The WHO said that the pandemic continues unabated and our response only needs to be strengthened further to curtail virus transmission.

Poonam Khetrapal Singh, Regional Director WHO South-East Asia Region said, “There should be no complacency in view of the declining numbers in recent weeks. The Region still reports large numbers of COVID-19 cases. We need to continue to do our very best to curtail the pandemic.”

“The upcoming festival season and the approaching winter or cold season threatens to aggravate the situation if we let our guards down,” she added.

The regional director also stated that countries have been making concerted efforts scaling up capacities for timely detection, testing, tracing contacts, isolating the affected and providing hospital care to those who need it. “Our relentless efforts need to continue with more vigor,” she said.

Moreover, the organization said this festive season we must continue to take responsibility as individuals of the need to maintain physical distance, hand hygiene, cough etiquette and wear a mask when and where needed.

Also, people must remember the three Cs – avoid crowded places, avoid closed settings and avoid confined and enclosed spaces with poor ventilation, WHO said.

The UN agency believes that the co-circulation of seasonal influenza and COVID-19 in the winters may present challenges for health systems and health facilities, since both diseases present many similar symptoms.

“Many of the same measures that are effective in preventing COVID-19 are also effective for preventing influenza, including physical distancing, hand hygiene, covering coughs, ventilation and masks,” it added

WHO informed that it is working with countries to take a holistic approach to the preparedness, prevention, control and treatment of all respiratory diseases, including influenza and COVID-19.

The organization noted that for the third week in a row, the WHO South-East Asia Region has registered 6 – 8 per cent decline in the number of COVID-19 cases, mainly due to a decrease in reported cases from India and Bangladesh.

So far, the region has reported over 8 million of the 40 million cases globally, mostly from the most populous countries which also face unique demographic and geographic challenges, the WHO said in a release.

-RJV