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Lifting lockdown restrictions is not end of epidemic: WHO

Geneva: World Health Organization (WHO) Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said on Sunday that lifting lockdown restrictions for COVID-19 is not the end of the epidemic, it’s just the beginning of the next phase.

Speaking at the Group of 20 (G20) Health Ministers virtual meeting from Geneva, the WHO chief said it’s vital in this next phase that countries educate, engage and empower their people to prevent and respond rapidly to any resurgence, Xinhua reported.

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“We are encouraged that several G20 countries are now starting to plan how to ease social restrictions. It is critical that these measures are a phased process,” he said.

Tedros told the health ministers that the WHO is deeply concerned that the virus now appears to be gathering pace in countries that lack the capacity of many G20 countries to respond to it.

“Urgent support is needed, not only to support countries to respond to COVID-19, but to ensure other essential health services continue,” he said.

Tedros also took the opportunity to thank Saudi Arabia for its support to the global fight against the virus. Saudi Arabia announced Thursday a $500 million donation to relevant international organizations to support global efforts in combating the COVID-19.

“The COVID-19 pandemic has reminded us of a simple truth: we are one humanity. We share the same planet. We share the same hopes and dreams. We share the same destiny,” the WHO chief said.

Global community should support WHO’s efforts: Russia

The international community should support the work of the World Health Organization (WHO) in the fight against the COVID-19, Russian Health Minister Mikhail Murashko said during a videoconference of G20 health ministers on Sunday.

“Today, the exchange of national practices to overcome all the negative consequences of COVID-19 is very important. And in this situation, the leading role of the WHO is important,” Murashko said, Xinhua reported.

The current pandemic situation allows countries to think of measures to modernize their health care systems in order to meet such challenges, he added.

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“I would like to draw three conclusions. First, support WHO’s efforts. Second, think about the need to improve the global response mechanisms to meet the challenges posed by infectious diseases. And the third is the global issue of access and provision of medical products, including regulatory mechanisms and quality control procedures,” the minister said.

Russia has registered a new daily record of 6,060 COVID-19 cases over the last 24 hours, raising the total number to 42,853 as of Sunday.

(IANS)

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