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WHO urges gov’ts to ‘focus on fundamentals’ as COVID-19 caseloads rise

Tedros Adhanam Ghebreyesus

Kampala, Uganda |  THE INDEPENDENT | The World Health Organization is advising governments and people everywhere not to let their guard down, for the benefit of those hospitalized, or working on the front line of the battle to end the COVID-19 pandemic, as COVID-19 cases continue to accelerate.

“I know there’s fatigue but the virus has shown that when we let our guard down, it can surge back at breakneck speed and threaten hospitals and health systems,” agency chief Tedros Adhanam Ghebreyesus told journalists last evening. 

The World Health Organisation reported last week that the pandemic has entered a worrying phase as the northern hemisphere winter season approaches. At the time, the caseload in Europe was almost three times higher than during the first peak of the pandemic in March.  

Tedros pointed out that as cases rise, the number of people who need hospital beds and intensive care also increases. And although nurses and doctors now have a much better understanding of how best to treat people with the virus, the situation could put them and patients at risk.  

“So, it’s important that all governments focus on the fundamentals that help to break the chains of transmission and save both lives and livelihoods”, he said. “This means active case finding, cluster investigations, isolating all cases, quarantining contacts, ensuring good clinical care, supporting and protecting health workers and protecting the vulnerable.” 

Tedros underlined that everyone also has a role to play through practising physical distancing, wearing masks, avoiding crowds and other recommended measures.  

Meanwhile, WHO announced that; We Are Family’, by the American group Sister Sledge, one of the biggest anthems from the disco era is being refashioned as a “clarion call” for the COVID19 pandemic.  The hit will be featured in a new campaign to promote global solidarity, unity and collaboration in the face of the disease. 

Kim Sledge, one of the four sisters who sang the dancefloor classic, will re-record a special edition of the 1979 hit which will be released online on November 9. Part of the proceeds will go towards pandemic response and strengthening health services around the world. 

The new version of ‘We Are Family’ will be accompanied by a video featuring celebrities, frontline heroes and members of the public. People worldwide are encouraged to join the #WeAreFamily campaign, launched on Monday, by recording videos with their close family and friends singing the song and then sharing their efforts on social media.

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