The Sars-CoV-2 coronavirus “retains the ability to evolve into new variants with unpredictable characteristics”. This was underlined by the Emergency Committee of the World Health Organization, expressing its opinion on the need to maintain the status of public health emergency of international interest (Pheic) for Covid-19.
“The Committee – reads the final statement – recognized that, although the subtypes of Omicron currently circulating globally are highly transmissible, there has been a decoupling between infection and severe disease, compared to previous variants of concern”. But the virus remains unpredictable in its evolution. And the Committee expressed the “need to improve surveillance and reporting of hospitalizations, intensive care and deaths to better understand the current impact on health systems and adequately characterize the clinical characteristics of Covid-19 and the post-Covid condition “.
How to move in this phase that seems to be transitional? Following 7 temporary recommendations, issued by WHO director general, Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, based on what emerged from the meeting of the Committee of Experts. Target: Agency member states who are urged by the DG to first maintain momentum on Covid vaccination to achieve 100% coverage of high priority groups, following the lead of Sage expert group’s evolving recommendations on the use of call back. States should also plan to integrate this vaccination into programs that plan for lifelong immunizations.
The second point is to improve the reporting of SARS-CoV-2 surveillance data to WHO to detect, evaluate and monitor emerging variants, identify significant changes in the epidemiology of COVID-19 and understand the disease burden across regions. In this regard, states the text, States are recommended to use an integrated approach to the surveillance of respiratory infectious diseases that takes advantage of the global influenza surveillance and response system. Always with a view to getting out of an emergency situation by establishing a routine that still allows attention to be paid to the virus, the invitation is to increase access and ensure the long-term availability of medical countermeasures: vaccines, diagnostics, therapies Covid. And be prepared for these to be allowed outside of Emergency Use List procedures and within normal national regulatory frameworks.
Another indication is to maintain a strong national response capacity and prepare for future events, so as to avoid the occurrence of a panic-denial cycle. States – it explains – should consider how to strengthen the readiness of their response to epidemics, including with funding. And, further point, continue to work with communities and their leaders to address the infodemic and effectively implement risk-based public health and social measures, addressing misinformation, strengthening public and media understanding, and continuing to monitor response individual and public to the proposed measures and vaccines. Finally, we ask to continue to adjust any remaining measures related to international travel based on the risk assessment and not to require proof of the anti-Covid vaccination as a prerequisite for international travel; and to continue to support research for better vaccines that reduce transmission and have broad applicability, as well as research to understand the full spectrum of the disease, including post-Covid incidence and impact, and to develop suitable pathways of integrated assistance.
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