Dr Tedros Ghebreyesus, the Director-General, World Health Organisation (WHO), has expressed worry over the rise of Coronavirus (COVID-19) cases reported in America. Ghebreyesus said this at a news conference at WHO headquarters in Geneva. According to him, more than 100,000 cases of COVID-19 have been reported to WHO for each of the past five days.
“The Americas continues to account for the most cases. For several weeks, the number of cases reported each day in the Americas has been more than the rest of the world put together. “We are especially worried about Central and South America, where many countries are witnessing accelerating epidemics.
“We also see increasing number of cases in the Eastern Mediterranean, South-East Asia and Africa, although the numbers are much smaller.” Meanwhile, the director general noted that the number of cases in Europe had continued to decline, saying, “we saw the fewest cases reported in Europe since the 22nd of March on Tuesday.
“WHO continues to work through our regional and country offices to monitor the pandemic, to support countries to respond, and to adapt our guidance for every situation. “WHO continues to provide the world with new and updated technical guidance, based on the most up-to-date evidence.
“Just in the past week, WHO has released a new case report form for suspected cases of multi system inflammatory syndrome in children and operational guidance on maintaining essential health services. “We have released guidance on controlling the spread of COVID-19 at ground crossings; planning recommendations for mass gatherings and a protocol for surveillance of infections among health workers.
“Also, we have released ethical considerations for the use of digital technologies in tracking COVID-19 and updated guidelines on the clinical management of patients with COVID-19. “This is an update of the guidance we published in March,’’ he said.
In addition, Ghebreyesus said the guidance included a COVID-19 care pathway, which described the steps followed by a patient from screening to discharge, to ensure delivery of safe and quality care, while stopping onward transmission.
“WHO continues to train millions of health workers all over the world to apply our guidance; our OpenWHO.org online learning platform has now registered three million enrollments for our courses on COVID-19. “And we have added two new courses: one on decontamination and sterilisation of medical devices and another on environmental cleaning and disinfection.
“In total, we’re now offering 12 courses in 27 languages; in the past week, we launched COVID-19 courses in Amharic, Arabic, French, Hausa, Macedonian, Odia, Spanish and Vietnamese,’’ he said. The director-general further said that WHO would continue to respond to the new Ebola outbreak in the city of Mbandaka, in the Equateur province of the Democratic Republic of the Congo.
“So far, eight cases have been detected. Four of those have died and the other four are receiving care. “To be clear, this outbreak is in the same area as a previous outbreak in 2018, which was stopped in just three months. “However, it is on the other side of the country to the Ebola outbreak that WHO and partners have been fighting for almost two years in the provinces of North Kivu and Ituri, in eastern DRC.
“The latest person confirmed with Ebola attended the burial of one of the first cases, but was detected in the town of Bikoro, 150 kilometres away from Mbandaka. This means that two health zones are now affected,’’ he said. According to him, almost 50 responders from WHO and partners arrived in Mbandaka on Wednesday, plus 3,600 doses of Ebola vaccine and 2,000 cartridges for lab testing.
“The government is now sequencing the virus to see whether or not it is related to a previous outbreak. “This is an important reminder that even as WHO focuses on responding to the COVID-19 pandemic, we continue to monitor and respond to many other health emergencies.’’