Influenza season is about to start in many Eastern Mediterranean countries, which may lead to an increase in cases of COVID-19 worldwide, according to a statement from the World Health Organization Regional Director, Ahmed al-Mandhari.
He added that the number of coronavirus cases in the region exceeded two million this week.
To reduce the risk of transmission in the coming weeks and months, individuals and societies must continue implementing preventive measures, especially in schools, areas where social gatherings are common, and public events, noted Mandhari.
He pointed out that wearing masks is one of the most effective means to protect ourselves and others when social distancing is not possible.
The director stated that “Countries must scale up existing public health measures, with a focus on testing, isolation and treatment of patients, protection of health workers, and contact tracing.”
He additionally suggested countries set up targeted lockdowns to prevent social gatherings in hotspots, areas that are witnessing a significant rise in transmission.
In the coming weeks, the World Health Organization will work with countries in the region to provide guidance through conducting intra-action reviews, a powerful tool used by the organization to improve the pandemic protocol of a country. Mandhari claimed that the review process will allow countries to periodically evaluate their national and subnational response to COVID-19, and identify areas requiring immediate action for sustainable improvements.
The director ended his statement affirming that although much has been done in the region to prevent the spread of the virus, additional work still lies ahead.
Edited translation from Al-Masry Al-Youm