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‘Drop in global COVID-19 cases, not a guarantee the trends will persist’

The decline in global COVID-19 cases is not a guarantee the trends will continue, the World Health Organisation (WHO) has warned.

Of late COVID-19 cases have been falling across the globe leading to some countries relaxing control measures such as the mandatory wearing of face masks.

“The global decline in reported cases and deaths is continuing,” said WHO director-general, Dr Tedros, Adhanom Ghebreyesus while briefing the media recently.

“This is very encouraging. But there is no guarantee these trends will persist. The most dangerous thing is to assume they will. The number of weekly reported deaths may have dropped by more than 80% since February, but even so, last week one person died from COVID-19 every 44 seconds. Most of those deaths are avoidable.”

The WHO chief emphasized that the pandemic was not over.

“You might be tired of hearing me say the pandemic is not over,” he said. But I will keep saying it until it is. This virus will not just fade away. We understand that many governments are dealing with multiple challenges and competing priorities.”

To support countries in their fight against COVID-19, Ghebreyesus said WHO will this week publish a set of six short policy briefs, outlining the essential actions that all governments can take to reduce transmission and save lives.

“The briefs will cover the essential elements of testing, clinical management, vaccination, infection prevention and control, risk communication and community engagement, and managing the infodemic,” he said.

“We hope countries will use these briefs to reassess and readjust their policies to protect those most at risk, treat those who need it and save lives. The pandemic is always evolving, and so must the response, in every country.”

He added: “Even as we continue to respond to the pandemic, work is progressing to put in place the measures to keep the world safer from future epidemics and pandemics. In November last year, WHO’s member states made a historic decision to negotiate a new international accord on pandemic preparedness and response. Just as countries have come together before to agree treaties on the threats posed by tobacco, nuclear weapons and climate change, so now countries are coming together to agree on a common approach to the common threat of epidemics and pandemics.”

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