WHO Stresses Importance of Contact Tracing in Fight Against COVID19

DrTedrosWHO21July2020

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The World Health Organisation (WHO) used its
virtual press conference on Monday to highlight the importance of
contact tracing.

“Ideally, contact tracing needs good preparation
because you don’t want to wait until the crisis hits to start
planning, but we saw unfortunately that many countries weren’t
very well prepared for the contact tracing,” said Dr. Ibrahima Socé
Fall, WHO Assistant Director-General, Emergency Response. “Most
countries, in particular the most developed, have surveillance
systems centred on hospitals, but by the time the patients arrive
it is too late, they have already contaminated others in the
community. So we need to have a good community basis, so that each
individual and each community and each member of the community
protects themselves in that way they protect others … So we have
to have the community base and we have to link that to the
hospital surveillance so we can have a full coverage of contact
tracing.”

There are currently 23 COVID19 candidate vaccines
in clinical development and one candidate – ChAdOx1 nCoV-19, being
developed by the University of Oxford – for which phase one
clinical data is available, plus one other for which data is available
on pre-publication. The Oxford vaccine involved testing 1,077
people with the results showing the injection led to them making
antibodies and T-cells that can fight coronavirus. In-depth
details of

ChAdOx1 nCoV-19 are available in the Lancet
.

Dr. Mike Ryan, Executive Director, WHO Health
Emergencies Programme, said, “There’s a long way to go, these are
phase one studies, we now need to move into larger scale
real-world trials, but it is good to see more data and more
products moving into this very important phase of vaccine
discovery and we congratulate our colleagues for the progress that
they’ve made.”

Johns Hopkins University of Medicine reported that
as of 03:34 GMT+7 on 21 July there were 14,608,517 confirmed
COVID19 cases, a jump of 223,306 since 03:34 GMT+7 on 20 July.
There have been 608,487 deaths and 8,201,516 people have
recovered.

Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, WHO
Director-General, said, “No country can get control of its
epidemic if it doesn’t know where the virus is. As we have said
many times, so-called lockdown measures can help to reduce
transmission, but they cannot completely stop it. Contact tracing
is essential for finding and isolating cases and identifying and
quarantining their contacts. Mobile applications can support
contact tracing, but nothing replaces boots on the ground –
trained workers going door-to-door to find cases and contacts, and
break the chains of transmission. Contact tracing is essential for
every country, in every situation. It can prevent individual cases
from becoming clusters, and clusters turning into community
transmission. Even countries with community transmission can make
progress by breaking down their epidemics into manageable parts.
This is all the more critical as countries are opening up … With
strong leadership, community engagement, and a comprehensive
strategy to suppress transmission and save lives, COVID19 can be
stopped. We do not have to wait for a vaccine. We have to save
lives now.”

World Health Organisation (WHO) COVID19 Virtual Press Conference on 20 July 2020

See also:

Airports, Air Travel and COVID19 – Exclusive Interview with SITA’s
President of Asia Pacific, Sumesh Patel
.

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