Opening remarks of Dr Takeshi Kasai, WHO Regional Director for the Western Pacific
31 March 2020
Today marks three months since WHO was alerted to a cluster of pneumonia cases of unknown cause in Wuhan, China. Since then, the world as we know it has changed swiftly and dramatically, affecting millions of people’s lives.
I’m so saddened by the fact that more than 33,000 people around the world have lost their lives to COVID-19 in the past three months, and I would like to express my deepest sympathy to those who have lost loved ones...
We recognize that there is no one-size-fits-all approach to preparing for and responding to an emergency like this, but we have found common tactics in these countries. Those are:
- Finding, isolating and treating cases early
- Tracing and quarantining contacts quickly
- Putting in place multiple public health interventions to increase physical distance between people to slow and stop transmission
- Mobilizing and engaging every community to protect themselves and the most vulnerable...
For countries that are seeing cases taper off: this is no time to let down your guard. If we do, the virus will come surging back. You must keep up your efforts and help other countries in whatever ways you can.
For those seeing their first cases or managing new spikes in cases: stay strong, stick with the tactics that work and know that flattening the curve is within reach.
For young people: please know that low risk does not mean no risk. Young, previously healthy people are among those with COVID-19 in hospitals right now. And if you don’t take precautions, you’re not only putting your own health at risk, but the health of those around you.
And to all people across the Region: please support efforts to fight COVID-19 and take action to protect your family, colleagues, community, and the vulnerable.
Best wishes, Neil
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HIFA profile: Neil Pakenham-Walsh is coordinator of the HIFA global health campaign (Healthcare Information For All - www.hifa.org ), a global community with more than 19,000 members in 177 countries, interacting on six global forums in four languages. Twitter: @hifa_org FB: facebook.com/HIFAdotORG neil AT hifa.org