Countries warn people ‘the pandemic is not over’

After the WHO lifted the global emergency due to Covid-19, countries remained vigilant and advised people “the pandemic is not over”.

The World Health Organization (WHO) downgraded its assessment of Covid-19, saying the disease is no longer a global emergency (PHEIC), May 5. According to experts, the new decision is mainly an epidemic notification tool that is no longer a major threat as it has been in the past three years.

Despite declaring the state of emergency to have ended, WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus warned that nCoV still exists, thousands of people can die every week. And Dr Mike Ryan, Executive Director of WHO’s Emergencies Program, said Covid-19 remained a public health threat. Viruses continue to evolve, while the world has medical and social gaps.

“We are sure the virus will continue to transmit, this is the rule of pandemics. In most cases, this pandemic will only really end when the next pandemic begins,” he said.

Mr. Ryan predicts cases will continue to increase each winter in the Northern Hemisphere, just like flu or any other seasonal illness. At the same time, he did not rule out the possibility that new strains of nCoV could appear in the summer, causing the number of infections to spike.

Officials of countries and territories are also wary after WHO’s decision. On May 6, the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (China) government urged people to continue to protect themselves by vaccination, especially with high-risk groups.

Emphasizing that the battle is not over yet, the government’s pandemic adviser, Professor Lau Yu-lung from the University of Hong Kong (HKU) said that epidemic suppression measures should be maintained such as testing nCoV levels in biological wastewater. active, collecting case data from public hospitals and private clinics.

“We cannot go from one extreme to another, from fear to lying still and doing nothing,” he said, urging people to continue living normally, but not subjectively, paying attention. personal hygiene.

Malaysian experts have similar views on WHO’s decision to lift the state of emergency. According to Dr. Noor Hisham Abdullah, former director of the National Health Agency, the country needs to strengthen and increase investment in the health system across the country, especially human resources for community health. In addition, people need to adhere to wearing masks when showing symptoms, testing and isolation in time; Wash hands and disinfect frequently.

“WHO has announced the end of the global Covid-19 emergency. But locally, we should maintain the necessary actions, similar to any other infectious pathogen. More importantly, every country needs to strengthen surveillance, strengthen the health system, invest more in public health care,” he said.

Dr. Abdullah warned that risks to vulnerable populations still exist. Therefore, the elderly, people with underlying diseases and weakened immunity should receive vaccines to improve their resistance.

The Philippines Department of Health (DOH) said it would convene members of the Interagency Task Force on Emerging Infectious Diseases to discuss and reassess the Covid-19 policy. The country’s next moves should be in line with the WHO statement and with the approval of President Ferdinand Marcos Jr.

Dr Rontgene Solante, the government’s infectious disease expert, warned that the lifting of the global emergency does not mean Covid-19 is over. He called for continued use of disease-restrictive measures such as testing, viral gene surveillance, preparing health infrastructure, and vaccinating vulnerable and high-risk populations.

“There are still infections, deaths and complications related to Covid-19. Countries are advised to continue to put in place policies to protect people, prevent an increase in cases and deaths,” Solante said. know.

Unlike other countries in the region, Indonesia is ready to end the state of emergency. The country is developing a plan to transform Covid-19 from a pandemic phase to an endemic disease, Health Minister Mohammad Syahril said, May 7.

The Ministry of Health of this country welcomed the decision of WHO, but noted that people still had to comply with anti-epidemic regulations. The government will also continue its enhanced vaccination program to protect at-risk people.

“Infections are still around us, so everyone has to be very vigilant. The elderly and people with underlying medical conditions are most at risk, so it is important to maintain the vaccination program,” Mr. Syahril said.

Indonesia’s new strategy includes monitoring health in the community, preparing medical facilities, ensuring the availability of medicines, and establishing national security and health policy to prevent future outbreaks. future.

According to SCMP, Antara News, Manila Times

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