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Contact-tracing Apps Can't Replace Public Health Workforce In COVID-19 Fight, Says WHO

WHO executive director on May 4 said that apps cannot replace "boots-on-the-ground" surveillance measures in the fight against coronavirus.


The World Health Organisation (WHO) on May 4 said that contact-tracing apps cannot replace old-fashioned "boots-on-the-ground" surveillance measures in the fight against Coronavirus even though they can be efficient in the tracing processes. WHO Executive Director Dr. Michael Ryan while talking at the health agency's media briefing on Monday said apps are an additional measure that will potentially enhance the efficiency of the contact tracing process but can't be the replacement for the basic human workforce on the ground. Ryan insisted that the WHO believes all countries are dedicated to protecting the personal data of their citizens while using online tools. 

Read: UN Chief: Our Response To COVID-19 Must Respect Rights And Dignity Of Older People

Ryan dismisses China lab conspiracy theory

Michael Ryan also dismissed US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo's claim that the novel Coronavirus had emerged from a Chinese laboratory saying that his comments were 'speculative' and need a science-based inquiry. "We have not received any data-specific evidence from the US government relating to the purported origin of the virus. So from our perspective, this remains speculative," Ryan said at the briefing. 

Read: COVID-19: Brazil President Bolsonaro Wants People To Return To Work Amid Lockdown

Pompeo on May 3 had said that the United States has enormous evidence suggesting that the virus emerged from a Chinese laboratory, without disputing the US intelligence agencies' conclusion that it was not man-made. According to reports, scientists have advised the WHO that genome sequencing of Coronavirus shows that it has a natural origin, refuting all claims indicating the disease to be man-made.

Read: US Contemplating Retaliatory Measures Against China For Poor Handling Of COVID Outbreak

The Trump administration had criticised the World Health Organisation of siding with China amid the pandemic, accusing it of favouring the Communist state and not pressuring it enough to share full information about the virus. US President Donald Trump had announced his administration would halt the global health body's funding for this year over its role in severely mismanaging and covering up the spread of Coronavirus.

Read: COVID-19: Health Experts Advise WHO To Identify Animal Source Of Virus

Coronavirus outbreak

The virus is believed to have originated from a seafood market in China's Wuhan city, where exotic animals were reportedly being traded illegally. According to data by worldometer, the contagion disease has killed over 2,51,000 people and has infected 3.63 million globally as of May 4. 

(Image Credit: WHO/webpage)

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