WHO urges ‘a second window of opportunity’ against COVID-19 transmission

WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus (R) speaks at a daily briefing in Geneva, Switzerland.

Geneva, ┬áCalling it “a second window of opportunity”, the chief of the World Health Organization (WHO) urged countries to use this critical window now to suppress and stop the further transmission of the deadly coronavirus.

This window of opportunity was created by those countries and regions which introduced unprecedented “lockdown” measures to contain COVID-19 pandemic, Xinhua news agency quoted WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus as saying on Wednesday, reminding that these measures will not extinguish epidemics on their own.

Tedros recommended six key actions to enable the more precise and targeted measures.

He called on countries to expand, train and deploy health care and public health workforce, implement a system to find every suspected case at community level, and ramp up the production, capacity and availability of testing.

The WHO chief also suggested identifying, adapting and equipping facilities for treating and isolating patients, developing a clear plan and process to quarantine contacts, as well as refocusing 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,” said Tedros.

As of Thursday morning, the number of confirmed coronavirus cases globally stood at 471,407, while the death toll was 21,287, according to the real-time updates by the Washington-based John Hopkins University.

In terms of cases, China, here the virus originated last December, reported the highest at 81,667, followed by Italy (74,386), the US (68,960) and Spain (49,515).

Italy, the worst-affected outside China, has the highest global death toll at 7,503, followed by Spain (3,647), China (3,285) and the US (1,041).