The issue of PPE for health workers has not gone away. That is still an issue in many countries. It’s still an issue in many countries affected by humanitarian crises, not only the PPE but the training for those workers.
Dr Michael Ryan, Executive Director, WHO Health Emergencies Programme said, “We see health facilities now in many, many countries coming under huge pressure and strain, maybe not in Europe, maybe not in North America but certainly in Central and South America, certainly in other parts of the world.”
He added that in places like Europe the hospital system has now coped with the onslaught of COVID-19 cases and now the issues are about travel, around reopening schools, around risk management; they’re around mass gatherings, they’re around surveillance and they’re around contact tracing. But, In south-east Asia where countries have to a great extent controlled the disease in places like Korea or Japan, Australia and others, the considerations of government there are more around the re-emergence of clusters and how to safely remain open and then have sensible surveillance in place to deal and jump on clusters of the disease when they actually happen.
Cases are increasing across many countries in Africa in the last week – while the death rates have been very low there’s always a concern that the health system can become overwhelmed and how is the health system going to cope. “Each and every country has a different combination of risks and opportunities at this point and it’s really down to national authorities to carefully consider where they are in the pandemic,” said Ryan.
According to WHO, the numbers over the last number of weeks this pandemic are still evolving, and COVID-19 it is still growing in many parts of the world. There are deep concerns that health systems in some countries are struggling and are under huge strain and require external support, help and solidarity.
Dr Maria Van Kerkhove of WHO also stated that there are also the risks for non-COVID-related diseases and it is essential to maintain health services and ensure that vaccinations are taking place among the people that need those vaccinations. She said, “Those programmes need to continue and we need to find a way to do that. Another potential risk is complacency and, as the DG has outlined, we are seeing an acceleration in many areas and this isn’t over. Even in countries that have had the success in suppressing transmission there is that risk that resurgence remains.”