Coronavirus: WHO urges countries ‘not to let this fire burn’ by skipping tests – World News

The Director-General of the World Health Organisation warned countries to not to “let this fire burn” in the response to the coronavirus pandemic.

Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said countries need to enforce all of the following measures: testing, contact tracing, quarantine and social distancing.

He said everyone needs to “do it all” in a warning.

“Any country that looks at the experience of other countries with large epidemics and thinks ‘that won’t happen to us’ is making a deadly mistake. It can happen to any country,” he said.

This comes after Boris Johnson introduced measures in the UK telling Brits with a cough or temperature to self-isolate for a week, as those self-isolating with mild symptoms were advised not to phone 111.

The PM also said this week there was no plan to close schools in the UK as it could do “more harm than good at this time”.

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A man wearing a protective mask as he enters Oxford Circus underground station

WHO’s director general, Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, said on Friday: “You can’t fight a virus if you don’t know where it is.

“Find, isolate, test and treat every case to break the chains of Covid transmission. Every case we find and treat limits the expansion of the disease.

“Do not just let this fire burn,” he said.

Commuters in London during morning rush hour yesterday

He added: “The experience of China, the Republic of Korea, Singapore and others clearly demonstrates that aggressive testing and contact tracing, combined with social distancing measures and community mobilization, can prevent infections and save lives.

“Japan is also demonstrating that a whole-of-government approach led by Prime Minister Abe himself, supported by in-depth investigation of clusters, is a critical step in reducing transmission.”

Dr Tedros added in a press conference: “We’re continuing to support countries to prepare and respond.

Two people wear protective masks as they walk across London Bridge
Two people wear protective masks as they walk across London Bridge

“We have shipped supplies of personal protective equipment to 56 countries, we’re shipping to a further 28 countries, and we’ve sent almost 1.5 million diagnostic tests to 120 countries.

“Our message to countries continues to be: you must take a comprehensive approach.

“Not testing alone. Not contact tracing alone. Not quarantine alone. Not social distancing alone. Do it all.”

On Friday the World Health Organisation said Europe has become the epicentre of the pandemic.

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Coronavirus outbreak

World Health Organisation spokeswoman Margaret Harris questioned the UK’s approach to developing “herd immunity” against Covid-19.

Dr Harris told BBC Radio 4’s Today: “We don’t know enough about the science of this virus, it hasn’t been in our population for long enough for us to know what it does in immunological terms.

“Every virus functions differently in your body and stimulates a different immunological profile.

“We can talk theories, but at the moment we are really facing a situation where we have got to look at action.”

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