NAIROBI, Kenya Sep 5 – World Health Organisation Director General Tedros Adhanom has urged nations to adopt data-driven approaches and tailored measures in combating the coronavirus pandemic in place of lockdowns which have triggered economic meltdowns in most countries.
Tedros, who spoke during a media briefing on COVID-19, termed lockdowns imposed in various countries globally as ‘blunt instruments’ which can be avoided.
“Lockdowns are a blunt instrument that have taken a heavy toll in many countries. With the right mix of targeted and tailored measures, further national lockdowns can be avoided,” he told news reporters Geneva, Switzerland.
He pointed out that many countries across the world have used a data-driven approach to initiate a targeted COVID-19 response.
“Several countries are using a data-driven approach to drive a targeted COVID-19. This is allowing them to open up carefully and safely, while remaining ready to respond rapidly to any new clusters or amplifying events,” Tedros said.
The WHO DG singled out four priorities that countries need to focus on in fighting the pandemic key among them the need to protect the vulnerable.
“I want to reiterate the four priorities we urge countries to focus on: -Prevent amplifying events -empower people to protect themselves and others, focus on the public health basics and protect the vulnerable,” he added.
Tedros further noted that smokers have been found to be 1.5 times more likely to have severe complications from COVID-19 while people with diabetes are between 2-4 times more likely to have severe symptoms or die from the disease.
He noted patients with diabetes were seven times likelier to develop COVID-19, hence the need for tailored measures to protect them.
“COVID-19 has preyed on people with non-communicable diseases (NCDs): cancer, cardiovascular disease, diabetes and respiratory disease, NCDs and their risk factors are increasing vulnerability to COVID-19 infection and the likelihood of worse outcomes, including in younger people,” Tedros noted.
He further noted that “the pandemic has underscored the urgency of addressing non-communicable diseases and their risk factors.”