WHO lauds India’s efforts and “utmost urgency” in tackling COVID-19

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India is responding with utmost urgency to coronavirus from the very beginning and has been continuously strengthening preparedness and response measures, WHO Regional Director (South-East Asia) Poonam Khetrapal Singh said on Wednesday.

“India is responding with utmost urgency to COVID-19 from the start. It’s been continuously strengthening preparedness and response measures, including ramping up testing capacities, readying more hospitals, arranging and stocking up medicines and essentials,” Singh said at a virtual briefing.

“India took bold, decisive and early measures earlier in the outbreak. India did not witness an exponential increase in cases like some other countries which reported their first few cases along with India. Like in any other country the transmission of COVID-19 is not homogenous in India. There are areas yet to see a confirmed case, some have sporadic cases, in some areas some small clusters while we are witnessing large clusters in some megacities from the densely populated areas,” Singh said.

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She said WHO was aware of varying capacities at sub-national levels. “Not unusual in a country as big as India and its population size that measures taken may often not be uniformly sufficient across all areas. Scaling up capacities and response remains a constant need in India.”

Replying on the question of what more needs to be done in controlling the spread of COVID-19, she said all countries including India must continue to implement core public health and social distancing measures.

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“Local epidemiology to guide our response for finding hotspots and testing, detecting, isolating and providing care to the affected, promoting safe hygiene practices and respiratory etiquette, protecting health workers and increasing health system capacity is also key,” she said.

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