WHO: Western Pacific to face multiple COVID-19 surges

Updated: 19 August, 2020 08:07 IST | Agencies | Jakarta

"Many are unaware they are infected with very mild symptoms, or none at all," Kasai said. "This can result in them unknowingly passing on the virus to others."

Face mask-clad commuters walk to their train platform at the Tanah Abang railway station in Jakarta. Pic/AFP
Face mask-clad commuters walk to their train platform at the Tanah Abang railway station in Jakarta. Pic/AFP

The World Health Organisation said countries in the Western Pacific — a vast region comprising nearly 1.9 billion people — have entered a new phase of pandemic response.

This is "the phase where governments will need to deal with multiple increases or surges, but in a sustainable way", said Dr Takeshi Kasai, the WHO's regional director for the Western Pacific. He said governments will need to have earlier targeted responses to outbreaks, continue to improve health care systems, and promote healthy "new normal" habits that will help prevent the spread of the virus.

The WHO also warned that countries in the region, including Australia, the Philippines and Japan, are reporting increasing numbers of people under 40 contracting the virus. "Many are unaware they are infected with very mild symptoms, or none at all," Kasai said. "This can result in them unknowingly passing on the virus to others."

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First Published: 19 August, 2020 07:13 IST

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