Countries which have locked down their populations to prevent the spread of the coronavirus need to use the time to find and attack the virus, the World Health Organization said on Wednesday.
“Asking people to stay at home and shutting down population movement is buying time, and reducing pressure on health systems. On their own these measures won’t extinguish epidemics,” said WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus.
“We call on all countries to use this time to attack the virus,” Tedros told a press conference.
Countries need to expand, train and deploy their health care and public health workforces, as well as implementing systems to find every suspected case, and ramping up testing, he said.
“You have created a second window of opportunity. The question is, ‘how will you use it?’ There are six key actions that we recommend: first – expand, train and deploy your health care and public health workforce, and second – implement a system to find every suspected case at community level. Third – ramp up production capacity and availability of testing. Fourth – identify, adapt and keep facilities you will use to treat and isolate patients. Fifth – develop a clear plan and process to quarantine contacts. And finally, number six – refocus the whole of government on suppressing and controlling COVID-19,” he said.
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