The new Covid-19 coronavirus is spreading quickly and is 10 times more deadly than the pandemic (H1N1) flu of 2009, director general of the World Health Organization (WHO) Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said on Monday.
“This is a new virus and the first pandemic caused by a coronavirus. We are all learning continuously and adjusting our strategy based on the latest available data,” said Tedros during a virtual press conference from Geneva.
“Data from several countries gives us a clearer picture of the virus, how it behaves, how to stop it and how to treat it,” he said.
According to the head of the specialized agency of the UN, “the virus can spread more easily in overcrowded environments such as in nursing homes.”
He noted that “early case detection, testing, isolation, case management and monitoring of each contact are essential to stop transmission.”
“However, while the Covid-19 propagates very quickly, it decelerates much more slowly,” he noted. “This means that the restrictive measures must be lifted slowly and under control,” he said, saying that the lifting of the measures should not “happen all at once”.
Control measures can only be lifted if the right public health measures are in place, including significant contact tracing capacity, he said.
While some countries are considering reducing the restrictions, “others are considering introducing them, particularly low and middle income countries in Africa, Asia and Latin America,” he said, adding that “in countries with large poor populations, home containment controls and other restrictions used in some high-income countries may not be practical.”