Some Nations Aren’t Running Enough Coronavirus Tests
Top officials from WHO have criticized some nations saying they are not doing enough to detect and contain the deadly coronavirus. Coronavirus has so far infected more than 174,000 people globally.
On Monday, Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, the WHO Director-General, told the virtual press conference that COVID-19 had rapidly escalated over the past week.
He also said that WHO had not seen urgent enough escalation in contact tracing, isolating, and testing – which is the backbone of the response.
What Does WHO Have To Say
“We have a simple message for all countries: Test, test, test. Test every suspected case. If they test positive, isolate them. Then find out who they have been in contact with two days before they developed symptoms. Finally, test those people, too,” Tedros said.
Tedros did not single out any country, but local leaders and the state in the U.S. have heavily criticized the President Trump administration and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) in the U.S. for delaying and limiting who could get tested.
At the beginning of the outbreak, CDC limited testing to people who had recently travelled to China and showed symptoms or people exposed to someone with a confirmed case.
However, the CDC has since expanded its guidelines to include showing symptoms and already in hospital or with other underlying health conditions.
Tedros also added that it was most important for any country to have the political commitment of the highest level. He said all countries must test all suspected cases. Countries cannot fight a pandemic blindly, and they should know where the cases are.
On Friday, Andrew Cuomo, the New York Gov, said the state was ramping up its testing after receiving federal approval to allow 28 labs across the state to begin running tests.
He said the state was able to process 6,000 tests a day starting next week from the previous 3,000 tests.
On Feb. 28, the Fed regulations gave private labs, including Quest Diagnostics and LabCorp, to start running coronavirus tests. Vice President Mike Pence announced the new testing capabilities across the U.S. over the weekend.
Dr Maria Van Kerkhove, head of WHO’s emerging diseases and zoonosis unit, said they were sure they missed some cases.
According to Tedros, countries should first treat people with underlying conditions.
Some countries are freeing up hospitals for severe cases while converting gyms and stadiums to care for mild cases.
Korean health officials rolled out an aggressive testing regime.
According to the Korean CDC, they processed tests for more than 259,000 cases and confirmed more than 8,000 infections. Korea reported rapid coronavirus spread last month.
According to the US CDC, CDC and public health labs tested more than 22,000 cases.
However, that excludes tests run by commercial labs – some authorized to begin automated testing last week.
“Once again, our key message is Test, test, test. This is a serious disease. Also, the evidence we have suggests that those over 60 are at the highest risk. Young people, including children, have died,” Tedros said.
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