Test every suspected case of Covid-19, says WHO

17 Mars, 2020, 05:05 | Auteur: Anatole Charbonneau

The World Health Organization said on Monday it was deeply concerned about the spread of the coronavirus in low income countries and asked countries to step up its process to test and isolate cases to stop the spread. "We have seen a rapid escalation in social distancing measures, like closing schools and cancelling sporting events and other gatherings".

"All countries should be able to test all suspected cases, they can not fight this pandemic blindfolded", he added.

"We have not seen an urgent enough escalation in testing, isolation, and contact tracing, which is the backbone of the response", Tedros said. Dr Tedros did not provide the latest numbers, but according to an AFP tally Monday based on official sources, more than 175,500 cases have been recorded worldwide. Italy is now the worst affected country outside of China, with over 1,800 deaths.

She also said children tend to have mild symptoms. But on their own, they aren't enough to extinguish this COVID-19 pandemic.

Later, Dr. Maria Van Kerkhove, the technical lead for WHO Health Emergencies Program, added that countries need to increase the number of labs, availability of test kits, and the number of people who can conduct those tests.

More Covid-19 tests are still being produced to meet the global demand. "You can not fight a fire blindfolded, and we can not stop this pandemic if we don't know who is infected".

He acknowledged though that many countries have already exceeded their capacity to care for mild cases, and urged those countries to prioritise older patients and those with underlying health conditions, while others could be isolated at home.

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He urged people not to dismiss the pandemic as something that only affected the elderly.

Tedros noted that while the message has been that people who are over 60 are at highest risk, "young people including children have died".

A patient on a stretcher is transported by medical workers wearing protective suits at Gemelli hospital in Europe. "That's why we're calling on every country and every individual to do everything they can to stop transmission".

This includes, Tedros said, refraining from hoarding essential items like medicines and other products which "can exacerbate suffering".

United States vice president Mike Pence promised on Sunday that Americans would have access in the days ahead to more than 2,000 laboratories capable of processing tests.

"This is the defining global health crisis of our time The days, weeks and months ahead will be a test of our resolve, a test of our trust in science, and a test of solidarity".

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