Geneva: The World Health Organization’s (WHO) Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus on Friday said that there are many countries that have shown COVID-19 can be controlled, even without a coronavirus vaccine.
“All countries have been affected, but not all countries have been affected equally. There are many countries all over the world that have shown COVID-19 can be controlled with existing tools,” said Ghebreyesus.
“One of the things all these countries have in common is an emphasis on testing,” he added.
He stated that since the beginning of the pandemic, WHO has emphasized the importance of testing and provided the tools for countries to do it.
The WHO chief called COVID-19 an uneven pandemic and stated that almost half of all cases and deaths are in just four countries, and almost 70% of cases and deaths are in the top 10 countries.
Ghebreyesus said that the WHO has worked with countries to increase testing capacity and informed that at the start of the pandemic, just two African countries had laboratory testing capacity for COVID-19 and by the end of February, 32 countries in Africa had the testing capacity, and now all countries can test for COVID-19.
“As vaccines are rolled out, testing will continue to play a vital role,” said Ghebreyesus and added that initially, health workers, older people and other at-risk groups will be prioritised for vaccination.
“If you don’t know where the virus is, you can’t stop it. If you don’t know who has the virus, you can’t isolate them, care for them or trace their contacts. But testing must be strategic, in support of clear public health objectives,” opined WHO’s Director-General.