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Coronavirus becoming more endemic, WHO cries out

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NCDC issues advisory for vulnerable groups

The World Health Organisation (WHO) has warned that the worst of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic is “yet to come.”

This comes, as the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC), yesterday, released an advisory to boost the emotional and mental health of vulnerable groups.

WHO’s Director-General, Dr. Tedros Ghebreyesus, during a virtual news conference at the global agency’s headquarters in Geneva, said the spread of the virus was speeding up, despite lockdowns globally.

He noted that countries like South Korea, China, Germany, Singapore and Japan had shown that the disease was suppressible.

A traveller sanitises his hands in compliance with measures at the bus terminal to curtail the spreads of COVID-19 coronavirus following the ease of interstate travels at the Ojota bus terminal in Lagos, on July 1, 2020. - Bus terminals across the country have commenced business following the removal of restrictions placed on interstate movements outside curfew hours by the government as measures to curb the spread of the COVID-19 coronavirus. (Photo by PIUS UTOMI EKPEI / AFP)


Aside robust contact tracing schemes, the above nations have also delegated testing responsibilities to local public health teams and given regional leaders the power to enforce lockdowns.

Ghebreyesus said: “Although many countries have made some progress, globally, the pandemic is actually speeding up.

“We all want this to be over. We all want to get on with our lives, but the hard reality is that this is not even close to being over.

“Some countries have now experienced a resurgence of cases as they start to reopen their economies and societies. Most people remain susceptible. The virus still has a lot of room to move.

“The worst is yet to come. I am sorry to say that, but with this kind of environment and condition, we fear the worst.”

He added: “And that is why we have to bring our acts together and fight this dangerous virus together.

“The single most important intervention for breaking chains of transmission is not necessarily high-tech and can be carried out by a broad range of professions. It is tracing and quarantining contacts.

“Six months since the virus started, it could be like a broken record, to say exactly the same thing, but the same thing works. Test, test, isolate, quarantine cases.”

On what might have informed the medical recommendation, Ihekweazu said the affected persons were at a considerably higher risk of having complications from the ailment.

He said it was important that people with underlying immuno-compromised conditions take extra precautions to protect themselves on account of their weak immune system that predisposes them to infections.

The physician said the advisory would be regularly updated to reflect emerging information and research on the disease.

Ihekweazu said based on current knowledge, the followings are susceptible to the scourge: persons aged 50 years and older (with or without underlying illnesses); persons with critical underlying medical conditions such as diabetes, cancer, lung disease, liver disease, moderate to severe asthma, as well as people who have been assessed as vulnerable, based on clinical assessment.


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