Public Health Measures Like Contact Tracing & Isolation Essential In Covid-19 Fight, Says WHO Official

As the Covid-19 situation escalates across the world, countries are implementing lockdowns in a bid to contain the pandemic. This includes our neighbouring country, Malaysia, which has an ongoing Movement Control Order.

The shutdown of cities and nations might seem to yield benefits enough to contain the virus.

However, Dr Mike Ryan from the World Health Organisation (WHO) warns against lockdowns without strong public health measures, according to The Straits Times (ST).

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He urges nations to focus on contact tracing and isolating cases, pointing out Singapore as one of the prominent models.

Danger still present with lockdowns

The emergency expert expressed that “countries cannot simply lock down their societies to defeat coronavirus”, in an interview on BBC.

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There is a need to implement strong public health measures, including identifying Covid-19 carriers and isolating them, carrying out subsequent contact tracing.

This is to ensure the danger of Covid-19 is kept low, even after lifting current lockdown and border control measures.

Countries are implementing lockdowns

Globally, many governments are taking pretty extreme stances on border control to prevent the importation of Covid-19 cases.

European nations like France and Spain are in the midst of a full lockdown, while Italy has shut down all schools and shops to curb Covid-19’s spread.

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Dr Mike Ryan wishes to draw focus back on public health measures that need to be formulated.

He mentions Singapore, China and South Korea as great examples to follow, leaving no stone unturned when it comes to testing suspects.

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Singapore’s strong public health measures

In fact, Singapore even developed the world’s first contact tracing app, TraceTogether, to strengthen our ability to identify possible patients.

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Dr Vivian Balakrishnan expressed the importance of both border control and “hard containment” in an interview with CNBC on 11 Mar.

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One part of our containment strategy is introducing stringent travel restrictions.

However, Singapore is not slacking in terms of hard containment. To “isolate, treat, keep mortality low” is one of our primary goals as well.

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Encouraging countries to strengthen public health measures

Evidently, lockdowns are not the panacea to Covid-19.

Countries need to amp up their efforts in identifying potential patients to effectively curb the spread of the pandemic.

Hopefully, more governments will introduce better policies to strengthen hard containment like Singapore.

Featured image adapted from Facebook