Contacts of people confirmed to have coronavirus should be properly quarantined, the World Health Organization said on Monday, as the pandemic surges in Europe and North America.
WHO emergencies director Michael Ryan linked soaring transmission rates in the northern hemisphere to the failure to implement the vital step rigorously.
He said if he could have one wish, it would be to ensure “every contact of a confirmed case is in quarantine for the appropriate period”.
“I do not believe that has occurred systematically, anywhere,” he told a virtual press conference from the WHO’s headquarters in Geneva, saying it was “a good part of the reason why we’re seeing such high numbers”.
Ryan said that about half of the 48 countries in the UN health agency’s European region had seen roughly 50 percent increases in cases within the past week — and hospitalisations and death rates were beginning to track those rises.However, there was hope that deaths and serious cases would not reach the levels seen earlier this year.
Ryan said the average age of sufferers was now much younger, treatment had improved and those infected may have been exposed to lower doses of the virus because of physical distancing and mask wearing.
– ‘Breakneck speed’ –
The tally of confirmed coronavirus cases worldwide passed 40 million on Monday, with more than 1.1 million deaths.
WHO director-general Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus warned against people getting fed up with the pandemic and the measures imposed to control it, AFP reported.