WHO official commends Asia’s handling of coronavirus

WHO Health Emergencies Programme Director Michael Ryan during a session on the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) outbreak response of the World Health Organisation (WHO) Executive Board in Geneva, Switzerland. File ph oto   | Photo Credit: REUTERS

The head of emergencies at the World Health Organization says Asia’s follow-through in the fight against COVID-19 and its populations’ greater trust in and compliance with their governments have given the continent a leg up against the coronavirus.

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As Europe grapples with big surges in case counts in recent days, Dr. Michael Ryan said that if he had one golden wish that might change the game, it would be to make sure that every contact of a confirmed COVID-19 case would undergo quarantine to break the chains of transmission.

Countries like China, South Korea and Japan, which had experience against earlier respiratory disease outbreaks, have been able to implement measures longer than their counterparts in places like Europe and North America that continued to struggle against the pandemic, he said.

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Dr. Ryan noted the ability of Asian nations to restart tracing, quarantine and isolation activities when needed.

Such countries had serious follow-through once they got the numbers down. They followed through, Dr. Ryan said. “They didn’t start reducing testing centres. They increased testing. They didn’t start reducing clinical capacity. They increased clinical capacity,” he said.

Maria Van Kerkhove, WHO technical lead on COVID-19, acknowledged that Asian nations had more experiences with viruses like SARS and MERS earlier this century.

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Printable version | Dec 5, 2020 3:02:47 AM |

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