The World Health Organization (WHO) is sending a message to all countries: “You must take a comprehensive approach. Not testing alone. Not contact tracing alone. Not quarantine alone. Not social distancing alone. Do it all,” Catharina de Kat, Communications Officer of the WHO Regional Office for Europe, told Promote Ukraine.
According Ms de Kat, the WHO is advising countries on actions they can take for several scenarios – first case, first cluster, and first evidence of community transmission. The basic actions in each scenario are the same, but the emphasis changes depending on which transmission scenario a country is in.
At this point, the WHO does not know how long the pandemic will last. “We are still in early stages of the outbreak. We cannot make predictions, but we can say that the course of the pandemic will be determined by the actions that countries take,” Ms de Kat underscored.
For its part, the WHO continues to coordinate the global response through country and regional offices and headquarters. The WHO provides advice to countries (which the organisation is continuously updating as it learns more) on critical preparedness, readiness and response actions for COVID-19. The WHO reaches out to countries directly to discuss the improvements that can be made and the organisation suggests how countries can adapt their strategies.
Ms de Kat reiterated that reporting cases accurately is essential for responding to any outbreak. The WHO has been calling on all countries to scale up surveillance and case finding. This is an evolving situation and there are still many unknowns that need to be clarified, said Ms de Kat.
Natalia Richardson for Promote Ukraine