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Tue, 21 July 2020

WHO Stresses Importance of Contact Tracing in Fight Against COVID19

The World Health Organisation (WHO) used its virtual press conference on Monday to highlight the importance of contact tracing.

"Ideally, contact tracing needs good preparation because you don't want to wait until the crisis hits to start planning, but we saw unfortunately that many countries weren't very well prepared for the contact tracing," said Dr. Ibrahima Soc Fall, WHO Assistant Director-General, Emergency Response. "Most countries, in particular the most developed, have surveillance systems centred on hospitals, but by the time the patients arrive it is too late, they have already contaminated others in the community. So we need to have a good community basis, so that each individual and each community and each member of the community protects themselves in that way they protect others ... So we have to have the community base and we have to link that to the hospital surveillance so we can have a full coverage of contact tracing."

There are currently 23 COVID19 candidate vaccines in clinical development and one candidate - ChAdOx1 nCoV-19, being developed by the University of Oxford - for which phase one clinical data is available, plus one other for which data is available on pre-publication. The Oxford vaccine involved testing 1,077 people with the results showing the injection led to them making antibodies and T-cells that can fight coronavirus. In-depth details of ChAdOx1 nCoV-19 are available in the Lancet.

Dr. Mike Ryan, Executive Director, WHO Health Emergencies Programme, said, "There's a long way to go, these are phase one studies, we now need to move into larger scale real-world trials, but it is good to see more data and more products moving into this very important phase of vaccine discovery and we congratulate our colleagues for the progress that they've made."

Johns Hopkins University of Medicine reported that as of 03:34 GMT+7 on 21 July there were 14,608,517 confirmed COVID19 cases, a jump of 223,306 since 03:34 GMT+7 on 20 July. There have been 608,487 deaths and 8,201,516 people have recovered.

Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, WHO Director-General, said, "No country can get control of its epidemic if it doesnt know where the virus is. As we have said many times, so-called lockdown measures can help to reduce transmission, but they cannot completely stop it. Contact tracing is essential for finding and isolating cases and identifying and quarantining their contacts. Mobile applications can support contact tracing, but nothing replaces boots on the ground trained workers going door-to-door to find cases and contacts, and break the chains of transmission. Contact tracing is essential for every country, in every situation. It can prevent individual cases from becoming clusters, and clusters turning into community transmission. Even countries with community transmission can make progress by breaking down their epidemics into manageable parts. This is all the more critical as countries are opening up ... With strong leadership, community engagement, and a comprehensive strategy to suppress transmission and save lives, COVID19 can be stopped. We do not have to wait for a vaccine. We have to save lives now."

World Health Organisation (WHO) COVID19 Virtual Press Conference on 20 July 2020

See also: Airports, Air Travel and COVID19 - Exclusive Interview with SITA's President of Asia Pacific, Sumesh Patel.

See latest Travel News, Video Interviews, Podcasts and other news regarding: COVID19, WHO.

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