New Delhi: The World Health Organization on Sunday called upon countries in WHO South-East Asia Region to accelerate the vaccination for COVID-19 in order to prevent another surge.
“We need to continuously strengthen our efforts to test, trace and isolate. Societal interventions such as physical distancing, hand hygiene and proper wearing of masks need to be stringently implemented. These measures should be in full force and for longer periods in areas reporting more transmissible variants of concerns,” said Dr Poonam Khetrapal Singh, Regional Director, WHO South-East Asia.
Even as countries scale up vaccination against COVID-19, they need to implement public health and social measures in tailored and agile way, she said.
The public health and social measures are a wide range of nonpharmaceutical interventions, both individual and societal, and are cost-effective measures to reduce the spread of SARS-CoV-2, and save lives.
“Where more transmissible Variants of Concern are spreading, these measures need to be applied more stringently and for longer periods,” the Regional Director said.
The Variants of Concern, along with opening of economies and societies, contributed to the recent surge in cases globally.
“We must not forget that the pandemic is still around. We must guard against complacency, at any level. We must continue to implement combinations of public health and social measures until globally there high COVID-19 vaccine coverage among health workers, and high-risk and vulnerable groups,” the Regional Director said.
Countries across the world are currently at different phases in the evolution of the COVID-19 pandemic and face varying epidemiological situations. Though the Region is now witnessing an overall decline in cases, mainly due to decreasing cases reported in India, in some other countries the cases are still increasing.