The World Health Organization has urged South Asian countries including Nepal to remain vigilant and strengthen the readiness to rapidly identify any case of importation of the new coronavirus and prevent its spread.
Nepal and India have reported one case each of coronavirus so far.
Dr. Poonam Khetrapal Singh, regional director, WHO South-East Asia Region said “It is time to focus all efforts on readiness guided by whatever is known about the new coronavirus,”
While in the case of any new virus, much remains to be known, the Regional Director said, adding that globally WHO has prepared interim direction on case detection, testing, clinical management of cases, infection prevention and home care for people assumed to have the virus and direction on diminishing transmission.
WHO is operating with countries in the region to roll out these guidelines, a provision in reviewing and building capacities for laboratory diagnostic, including referral of specimens and diagnosis; training in case management, specimen collection and transportation, and infection prevention and control; logistics assistance and communicating risks and promoting desired behavior in the community.
The regional director stated she has been in contact with the ministers of health since the onset of the outbreak. Last week Dr.Khetrapal Singh also took stock of the preparedness and support being extended by WHO to countries.
Three countries in the WHO South-East Asia Region – Thailand, Nepal, and India – have reported confirmed cases of the new coronavirus.
Though the new coronavirus being called novel coronavirus-2019 was not declared a public health emergency of international concern by the Emergency Committee of the International Health Regulation which met last week, its risk was assessed to be ‘high’.
WHO stated that it is holding a close observation on the evolving circumstances and remains dedicated to working with countries to scale up readiness and implement IHR core capacities to respond to any importation, Dr.Khetrapal Singh said, insisting that “We should continue to be vigilant and ready to contain and prevent any further spread.”
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