New Delhi: As various variants are still circulating around the world and countries are reporting an increase in COVID-19 cases, Dr Maria Van Kerkhove, COVID-19 Technical Lead, WHO Health Emergencies Programme, warned that the world was still in the middle of the pandemic. She pointed out that countries have made massive changes to their testing strategies, leading to a drop in the number of tests being carried out around the world, which is dangerous as COVID-19 continues to be a threat.
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Stressing the importance of testing and tracking, Dr Kerkhove said the uncertainty that exists about the next variant remains a significant cause for concern as many different types of scenarios need to be planned for. She added,
I have confidence in the numbers, in terms of reports of hospitalizations, deaths around the world, but I have little confidence in the number of cases reported around the world. The simple fact that we’ve had massive changes in testing strategies, huge reductions in the number of tests being used around the world, we have very little confidence in what we’re actually seeing in the trends, in terms of cases. As you know, Omicron is dominant all over the world. We follow Omicron’s sub-lines, Omicron’s sister lines, BA.4, BA.5, BA.2.12.1. It will continue.
The world is facing enormous challenges right now, yet #COVID-19[FEMININE[FEMININE has practical, reliable and available solutions. Far too many people risk serious illness, death, LongCovid, loss of future and fortunately because of #Omicron. Access, equity, rational use of these tools is possible. @WHO pic.twitter.com/LSbdc05J2D
— Maria Van Kerkhove (@mvankerkhove) April 26, 2022
Dr Kerkhove pointed out that the people who die from Covid are dying because of the lack of capacity of countries to track this virus, to better understand the trends, to monitor the variants of concern. She stressed that vaccination remains the key to the fight against the disease. She says,
We have tools that can save lives, but we need to use them strategically. and appropriately. Vaccines save lives, but they only save the lives of the people they affect. Consistently, in high-income, low-income and middle-income countries, the people who die are people who don’t have access to vaccines or who have refused them, who refused to be vaccinated, who don’t don’t have access to diagnostics, who don’t have access to clinical care.
Dr Kerkhove further acknowledged that there is fatigue setting in and people don’t want to talk about it, but the course of the pandemic needs to be changed by continuing to be vigilant. She says,
It is our responsibility to ensure that there is vigilance for this particular virus due to the threat of variants, due to the threat of the post-COVID-19 state or the long COVID, which we are starting barely understand. Now is not the time to retreat. Now is the time to really strengthen what we have in place and ensure that we keep people alive, get our economies back on track and save people’s livelihoods.
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NDTV – Dettol have been working for a clean and healthy India since 2014 through The Banega Swachh India initiative, led by Campaign Ambassador Amitabh Bachchan. The campaign aims to highlight the interdependence of humans and the environment, and of humans on each other, with an emphasis on One Health, One Planet, One Future – Leaving No One Behind. It emphasizes the need to care for and consider the health of everyone in India – especially vulnerable communities – the LGBTQ population, indigenous peoples, various Indian tribes, ethnic and linguistic minorities, people with disabilities, migrants, geographically distant populations, gender and sexual minorities. With the current Covid-19 pandemicthe need for WASH (Water, Sanitation and Hygiene) is reaffirmed because handwashing is one of the ways to prevent coronavirus infection and other diseases. The campaign will continue to raise awareness of the same while emphasizing the importance of nutrition and health care for women and children, the fight malnutritionmental well-being, self-care, science and health, adolescent health and gender awareness. Along with the health of people, the campaign realized the need to also take care of the health of the ecosystem. Our environment is fragile due to human activity, which not only overexploits available resources, but also generates immense pollution due to the use and extraction of these resources. The imbalance has also resulted in an immense loss of biodiversity which has caused one of the greatest threats to human survival – climate change. It has now been described as a “code red for humanity”. The campaign will continue to cover issues such as air pollution, Waste Management, plastic ban, manual scan and sanitation workers and menstrual hygiene. Banega Swasth India will also advance the dream of Swasth Bharat, the campaign believes that only a clean Swachh or India where toilet are used and without open defecation (ODF) status obtained under the Swachh Bharat Abhiyan launched by Prime Minister Narendra Modi in 2014 can eradicate diseases like diahorrea and the country can become a healthy Swasth or India.