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Editorial | Cooperation most needed

World Health Organization Director General Tedras Adhanom on Monday, April 13, apprised international media on the global situation of the pandemic which to this day, shows no sign of abating.

Nations have responded differently to halt the spread of COVID19, he said, stressing that “some countries and communities have now endured several weeks of social and economic restrictions. Some countries are considering when they can lift these restrictions; others are considering whether and when to introduce them. In both cases, these decisions must be based first and foremost on protecting human health, and guided by what we know about the virus and how it behaves.”

But as days go by, reports of new infection continue despite the lockdown and community quarantine. Widespread testing is still not forthcoming to those who are vulnerable to infection. With no cure in sight, scientists are all scrambling to understand this coronavirus strain which is the first to infect humans and reportedly, also animals.

Director General Adhanom said that since this is a new virus, scientists are “all learning all the time and adjusting our strategy, based on the latest available evidence.We can only say what we know, and we can only act on what we know. Evidence from several countries is giving us a clearer picture about this virus, how it behaves, how to stop it and how to treat it.”

WHO knows that; COVID-19 spreads fast, and that it is deadly – 10 times deadlier than the 2009 flu pandemic; the virus can spread more easily in crowded environments, and; early case-finding, testing, isolating caring for every case and tracing every contact is essential for stopping transmission.

The virus spreads fast and is slow to decelerate. This means that current control measures, such as our enhanced community quarantine should be lifted slowly, calibrated to respond to any sudden shifts in infection. These are troubling times and the way forward requires our cooperation to combat the spread of COVID19.

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