WHO launches “operation end Coronavirus”
By EPHRAIM NWOSU
Apparently disturbed by the rising number of reported coronavirus cases across the globe , the World Health Organisation (WHO) has launched “Operation wipe out” disease. According to a statement signed by the WHO Director-General,Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus,WHO will not leave anything to chance in its preparedness and response strategy to tackle the virus which causes a disease known as COVID-19.
The global death rate for the novel coronavirus based on the latest figures from WHO IS 3.4 per cent-higher than earlier figures of about 2 per cent. The coronavirus outbreak that originated in Wuhan, China, has consumed more than 3,100 lives and infected nearly 93,000 as of Tuesday.
“ We are concerned that countries’ abilities to respond are being compromised by the severe and increasing disruption to the global supply of personal protective equipment – caused by rising demand, hoarding and misuse,’’ Ghebreyesus stated.
He continued:“ Shortages are leaving doctors, nurses and other front line healthcare workers dangerously ill-equipped to care for COVID-19 patients, due to limited access to supplies such as gloves, medical masks, respirators, goggles, face shields, gowns, and aprons.We can’t stop COVID-19 without protecting our health workers.
“Prices of surgical masks have increased six-fold, N95 respirators have more than tripled, and gowns cost twice as much.Supplies can take months to deliver, market manipulation is widespread, and stocks are often sold to the highest bidder.
“WHO has shipped nearly half a million sets of personal protective equipment to 47 countries, but supplies are rapidly depleting.WHO estimates that each month, 89 million medical masks will be required for the COVID-19 response; 76 million examination gloves, and 1.6 million goggles.
“ WHO has guidelines on how to rationalize the use of personal protective equipment in health facilities and manage supply chains effectively.We’re also working with governments, manufacturers and the Pandemic Supply Chain Network to boost production and secure supplies for critically affected and at-risk countries.
“Globally, it is estimated that PPE supplies need to be increased by 40 per cent.We continue to call on manufacturers to urgently increase production to meet this demand and guarantee supplies. And we have called on governments to develop incentives for manufacturers to ramp up production. This includes easing restrictions on the export and distribution of personal protective equipment and other medical supplies.
“Once again, this is a question of solidarity. This cannot be solved by WHO alone, or one industry alone. It requires all of us working together to ensure all countries can protect the people who protect the rest of us”
Ghebreyesus noted differences between the novel coronavirus and other infectious diseases like MERS, SARS and influenza. He said the data suggested that COVID-19 did not transmit as efficiently as the flu, which can be transmitted widely by people who are infected but yet showing symptoms. He added, however, that COVID-19 caused a “more severe disease” than the seasonal flu and explained that while people around the world may have built up an immunity to the flu over time, the newness of the COVID-19 meant no one yet had immunity and more people were susceptible to infection.
“It is a unique disease with unique characteristics,” he lamented.