This week marks six months since the World Health Organization received the first reports of a cluster of cases of pneumonia of unknown causes in China.
The six-month anniversary of the outbreak coincides with reaching 10 million cases and 500,000 deaths. WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said that even when COVID has been controlled in some areas this is not even close to being over.
“This is a moment for all of us to reflect on the progress we have made and the lessons we have learned, and to recommit ourselves to doing everything we can to save lives,” said Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus.
“Although a vaccine will be an important long-term tool for controlling COVID-19, there are five priorities that every single country must focus on now, to save lives now,” Tedros said.
First, Tedros said, they need to empower communities. Every individual must understand that they are not helpless – there are things everyone should do to protect themselves and others.
“Your health is in your hands.
That includes physical distancing, hand hygiene, covering coughs, staying home if you feel sick, wearing masks when appropriate, and only sharing information from reliable sources.” he said.
“You may be in a low-risk category, but the choices you make could be the difference between life and death for someone else. Second, suppress transmission. Whether countries have no cases, clusters of cases, or community transmission, there are steps all countries can take to suppress the spread of the virus.”
Tedros said they will continue to do research to see their progress but they need the help of everyone to implement the recommendations.
“As we have said repeatedly, national unity and global solidarity are essential to implementing a comprehensive strategy to suppress transmission, save lives, and minimize the social and economic impact of the virus.”