As Covid-19 spreads in South-East Asia, WHO calls for aggressive action

By Molaole Montsho Time of article published Mar 17, 2020

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RUSTENBURG - Countries in the World Health Organisation (WHO) South-East Asia Region need to urgently scale-up aggressive measures to combat Covid-19, as confirmed cases cross 480 and eight people have died.

"The situation is evolving rapidly. We need to immediately scale up all efforts to prevent the virus from infecting more people," said regional director Dr Poonam Khetrapal Singh.

Eight of the 11 countries of the South-East Asia Region have confirmed cases of Covid-19.

Thailand has 177 confirmed cases, Indonesia 134, India 125, Sri Lanka 19, Maldives 13, Bangladesh 5, Nepal and Bhutan one each. These numbers were increasing quickly, he said.

"More clusters of virus transmission are being confirmed. While this is an indication of an alert and effective surveillance, it also puts the spotlight on the need for more aggressive and whole of society efforts to prevent further spread of Covid-19. We clearly need to do more, and urgently," Khetrapal Singh said.

The regional director said looking at the numbers, some countries were clearly heading towards community transmission of Covid-19.

"Of critical importance are continued efforts to detect, test, treat, isolate and trace contacts.

"Simple public health measures are critical. Practicing hand hygiene, covering your cough and sneeze, and practicing social distancing cannot be emphasised enough."

African News Agency 

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