Coronavirus epidemic 'far from over' in Asia

Henrietta Brewer
March 31, 2020

"Let me be clear - the epidemic is far from over in Asia and the Pacific".

The World Health Organisation's head for the Western Pacific says the region's countries should be ready for large scale transmission of Covid-19.

Takeshi Kasai, WHO regional director for the western Pacific region, said on Tuesday that some of the possible vaccines are undergoing clinical trials for safety and effectiveness, and urged countries to take part in the studies to help produce results that can be analysed quickly.

Kasai warned that countries that have seen a decline in their number of COVID-19 cases should continue to monitor the health of all their citizens and prevent the virus from surging back.

"For countries that are seeing case taper off, this is not the time to let down your guard". Small nations like some in the Pacific islands are especially at risk, the World Health Organization said, because they have more limited medical resources.

But WHO technical adviser Matthew Griffith said COVID-19 "will eventually get everywhere", Reuters reported. We need every country to keep preparing for large-scale community transmission.

"This experience is also needed here in our region especially now that new countries and areas are reporting, including Laos, Papua New Guinea, Fiji and the Commonwealth Northern Mariana Islands", he said, adding that it means that "the risk of the epidemic remains high in all countries and areas".

East Asia was the first region to be hit by the virus but cases are now tapering off. Europe and the USA are now the focus of the epidemic.

Although the current situation in most of Asia is not as severe as in Europe and the U.S., Kasai said during a virtual media briefing that there will most likely be large-scale community transmissions in Eastern countries as well.

Other reports by iNewsToday