The World Health Organisation (WHO) on November 19 warned of a second wave of COVID-19 in the Middle East region, adding the only way to avoid it is by implementing restrictions. Dr. Ahmed Almnzera, Regional Director of the WHO in the Eastern Mediterranean region, expressed concern over the rising cases of coronavirus in the region, warning that the actual numbers may be "much higher" than reported. Almnzera said that the only way to prevent a second wave is by imposing strict lockdowns.
"Banning exit alone can limit transmission to a certain extent - and once countries and societies reopen, the disease will spread if governments do not continue to effectively implement public health interventions that have proven effective, and if people do not strictly adhere to personal protective measures," Almnzera said during a press conference held in the Egyptian capital Cairo on Thursday.
Almnzera said that Iran, Morocco, and Jordan alone reported more than 60 percent of the total regional cases in the past week. Almnzera said that the health facilities in the region are overwhelmed and are finding it difficult to cope-up regardless of their level of development. He said that governments should not wait until a safe and effective vaccine is available and must implement public health measures as soon as possible to avoid further loss of lives.
The Eastern Mediterranean Region has reported more than 3.5 million confirmed COVID-19 cases to date out of the 56 million recorded worldwide. 76,000 people have lost their lives in the region since February and more lives are continuing to disappear every day. Europe and the Americas are already witnessing a second wave of the disease and several countries have reimposed lockdowns to prevent the spread.
(Image Credit: AP)