Suspension of crowded events welcome step for COVID-19 prevention


With India, Indonesia, and Thailand confirming new cases of COVID-19, the World Health Organization recently asked countries in South-East Asia to strengthen preparedness for all possible scenarios and ensure early containment.
The mortality rate from COVID-19 has been on the upward trend, reaching 3.5 per cent recently.
So far, there are no confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Myanmar, and those who were quarantined for suspected infection have been discharged as they recovered from their illness and tested negative for the virus.
But, the Myanmar health authorities are prepared to quickly respond to the first case, the first cluster, and the first evidence of community transmission.
As part of efforts towards early containment to ensure prevention and protect against transmission of the disease, the local health authorities in regions and states must step up surveillance efforts and raise awareness to ensure that the people understand the benefits of preventive measures. People arriving from countries or areas that have reported an outbreak must inform the authorities and must undergo at least a two-week surveillance.
Suspension of events which attract large crowds of people in the regions and states is a welcome step and would be very helpful in the current efforts of the health authorities to prevent any COVID-19 infection.
The World Health Organization has also released three priorities for readiness – protecting health workers; engaging with communities, especially those at highest risk, and empowering them with timely and accurate information to enable them to take protective measures; and, doing our best to contain the epidemic in the most vulnerable countries.
The novel coronavirus can cause mild, flu-like symptoms as well as more severe illness. Patients show a range of symptoms such as fever, cough, and shortness of breath. Based on current data, globally 81 per cent of cases seem to be mild, about 14 per cent appear to progress to severe disease, and about 5 per cent are critical.
People can protect themselves and prevent the spread of the virus by practicing hand hygiene, covering their mouth when coughing and sneezing, maintaining distance from others if they are sick and from those who are sick.
Infection prevention and control is of critical importance for health facilities in combating COVID-19.
The Myanmar health authorities have beefed up efforts for prevention and control of COVID-10 since 5 January.
We need to review our efforts, including surveillance, handling of suspected patients, treatment, dissemination of health knowledge among people, cooperation with international health bodies and UN agencies, distribution of medical equipment and medicines to hospitals, and drills. Only then can we correct our weaknesses in time.

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