WHO’s Advice To India: Adopt Risk-Based Approach To Control COVID-19

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OB Bureau

New Delhi: India should adopt target, risk-based strategies to counter the COVID-19 pandemic which is set to enter its third year. That’s the advice from the India representative of World Health Organization (WHO) Roderico H Ofrin.

Complete restriction on movement of people and travel bans can be counter-productive in containing the spread of coronavirus in a country like India, Ofrin opined.

“WHO does not recommend a blanket travel ban, nor complete restriction of people’s movement. In many ways, such blanket approaches can be counter-productive. India with its diversity in population distribution and geographic spread, the risk-based approach remains the wiser public health practice to counter a pandemic,” Ofrin told PTI.

The need to protect both lives and livelihoods must be kept in mind while deciding health guidelines, he said, adding that policy must be guided by evidence from four key questions — how transmissible is the variant, severity of the disease it causes, how well vaccines and prior SARS-CoV-2 infection protect and how common people perceive risk and follow control measures.

“WHO advises governments to adopt nuanced, targeted and risk-based approaches which involve layered control measures, reducing the risks associated with travel and transmission,” Ofrin said.

Existing “tools and solutions” like wider vaccination coverage, masks, hand hygiene, physical distancing, ventilation of indoor spaces and crowd avoidance are effective in ending the chain of transmission.

“If these are followed, there will be no need for lockdowns,” Ofrin maintained.

India, in the midst of Omicron-driven third wave, reported 2,38,018 fresh coronavirus infections and recorded 310 fatalities on Tuesday. Active cases stand at 1.7 million, the highest in 230 days, while the death toll has climbed to 4,86,761.’

OB Bureau

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