Coronavirus | Need to continue extreme caution against COVID-19: WHO

Co-circulation of seasonal influenza and COVID-19 in winters may present challenges for health systems and facilities, as both diseases present many similar symptoms.

October 19, 2020 10:05 pm | Updated 11:24 pm IST - NEW DELHI

Poonam Khetrapal Singh

Poonam Khetrapal Singh

The World Health Organization (WHO) on Monday cautioned against any relaxation of response actions following the recent slight decline in COVID-19 cases in South-East Asia Region, saying the pandemic continues unabated and “our response only needs to be strengthened further to curtail virus transmission”.

Dr. Poonam Khetrapal Singh, regional director WHO South-East Asia Region, said, “There should be no complacency in view of the declining numbers in recent weeks. The Region still reports large numbers of COVID-19 cases. We need to continue to do our very best to curtail the pandemic”.

Also read: Coronavirus | Gear up for vaccine roll out, WHO tells countries

Caution in festival season

She said the upcoming festival season and the approaching winter/cold season threatened to aggravate the situation “if we let our guards down”.

“This festive season we must continue to take responsibility as individuals need to maintain physical distance, hand hygiene, cough etiquette and wear a mask when and where needed. People must remember the three Cs - avoid crowded places, avoid closed settings and avoid confined and enclosed spaces with poor ventilation,’’ she observed.


In its release, the group said the co-circulation of seasonal influenza and COVID-19 in the winters may present challenges for health systems and health facilities, since both diseases present many similar symptoms. “Many of the same measures that are effective in preventing COVID-19 are also effective for preventing influenza, including physical distancing, hand hygiene, covering coughs, ventilation and masks’’.

Also read: How will COVID-19 norms be enforced during festival season: Karnataka HC

Positivity rate

India’s national cumulative COVID-19 positivity rate has fallen under 8% and this trend has been sustained without a break for four days. “The positivity rate now stood at 7.94%,’’a release issued by the Union Health Ministry on Monday said.

The total tests have crossed 9.5 crore and the average daily positivity rate is 6.13% for October third week. India's active caseload stood at 7,72,055 on Monday and presently the active cases comprised 10.23% of the total positive cases of the country. The total recovered cases were more than 66 lakh. Patients, numbering 66,399, have recovered and discharged in the last 24 hours, said the Ministry.

Also read: Coronavirus | Harsh Vardhan stresses on COVID-19-appropriate behaviour during festival season, winter months

Seventy-nine per cent of the new recovered cases were observed to be concentrated in 10 States/UTs viz., Maharashtra, Kerala, Karnataka, Tamil Nadu, Andhra Pradesh, Uttar Pradesh, West Bengal, Delhi, Odisha and Chhattisgarh. Maharashtra alone had contributed the maximum, with more than 11,000 single day recovery, followed by Kerala and Karnataka, with more than 8,000 recoveries each.

The country has reported 579 case fatalities in the past 24 hours. “After 90 days, the daily deaths recorded are below 600. Of these, nearly 83% are concentrated in ten State/UTs. More than 25% of new fatalities reported are from Maharashtra (150),’’ said the Ministry.

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