The director general of the World Health Organization (WHO), Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, recalled today that COVID-19 should not be compared to a common flu, but admitted that preventive measures to prevent infection are similar.
“If you asked me for suggestions to prevent this virus, I would give similar advice as to a flu: wash your hands frequently, don’t touch your face with your hands … in the absence of a vaccine, and even if scientifically it is not the same as the flu, the principles Basic prevention are the same, “he said at a press conference.
Tedros had been asked if US President Donald Trump was reckless to publicly compare COVID-19 with the flu, a common comment on social media and networks, to which the CEO granted that at least as far as measures Prevention concerns there are similarities.
WHO Director General for Emergency Prevention, Mike Ryan, added as another basic measure to cover with the arm when coughing and sneezing, not with the hand, while the epidemiologist Maria Van Kerkhove, which was part of the recent mission of the organism in China, reduced the importance of wearing mask.
“We recommend wearing a mask to those who are sick, to avoid infecting others, not the rest to protect themselves from infection,” said the WHO expert.
Ryan stressed that in the face of the shortage of protective masks that is occurring in many countries after the appearance of cases within their borders, WHO is in contact with the main producing countries to increase stocks.
Help has also been requested to facilitate access to masks, medical protective suits and other equipment similar to those countries that have strategic reserves of these types of products to protect themselves from hypothetical emergencies, he added.
Tedros stressed that the epidemic is currently at a “turning point”, in which while it seems to have reached the peak of infections in China, origin of the virus, new sources of transmission have emerged in countries such as Italy, South Korea or Iran.
“We see that with containment measures such as those taken in China the virus has been able to be contained, and at the same time there are outbreaks in other parts of the world, which is bad news,” he said, stressing that all governments should prepare for possible cases.
“No country should assume that it will not have cases,” said the head of WHO, who asked “to act aggressively, because this way you can contain the virus and save lives.”
Tedros stressed that the new cases registered outside China have surpassed those diagnosed within the country for two consecutive days, and that in the last 24 hours there have been seven new affected nations (Brazil, Georgia, Greece, North Macedonia, Norway, Pakistan and Romania), bringing the total to 44.
“We reiterate that it is not a time to be afraid, but to act and prevent infections,” Tedros concluded.
Those responsible for the WHO expressed in the press conference today their confidence that Brazil, the first country in Latin America where cases have been registered, apply in the prevention of COVID-19 the experience already obtained in crises such as that of the Zika virus.
They also opined about the outbreak in Iran, which has an unusually high mortality rate (10%, compared to 2% in China), and they blamed it for the first national health network has detected the most serious cases, so he hopes that a much larger number of infected people will be reported sooner.