While the terms “post-pandemic” and “post-COVID” have been in the headlines despite the thousands of daily cases recorded, the World Health Organization stressed we are still in the pandemic era. But on a positive note, the world has never been in a better position to end the pandemic, according to WHO.
"We are not there yet. But the end is in sight," WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus told reporters at a virtual press conference on Wednesday.
This is, by far, the most optimistic assessment from the health organization since they declared COVID-19 an international emergency in January 2020.
In the past week, newly reported cases of COVID-19 fell to the lowest level since March 2020, Tedros said. “If we don’t take this opportunity now, we run the risk of more variants, more deaths, more disruption, and more uncertainty.”
At the same press conference, WHO officials reminded this is not the time to relax or let down our guard. The Director-General urged the governments to maintain their vigilance and keep up their efforts to fight the disease.
"Now is the time to run harder and make sure we cross the line and reap the rewards of all our hard work,” WHO officials noted.
While nations all over the world continue to look at how best to manage COVID-19 as part of their routine healthcare and surveillance, the WHO also encouraged them to vaccinate 100% of their high-risk groups and keep testing for the virus.
The WHO published six policy briefs to help countries do what is needed to rein in the virus. “These policy briefs are an urgent call for governments to take a hard look at their policies and strengthen them for COVID-19 and future pathogens with pandemic potential,” Tedros said.
WHO outlined essential actions that national and sub-national policymakers can implement for the following:
- COVID-19 testing
- Clinical management of COVID-19
- Reaching COVID-19 vaccination targets
- Maintaining infection prevention and control measures for COVID-19 in health care facilities
- Building trust through risk communication and community engagement
- Managing the COVID-19 infodemic
On September 15, Vietnam reported 2,965 new cases, taking the country's total COVID infections to 11,450,999. More than 43,100 deaths have been recorded since 2020.
Recently, the Vietnamese Health Ministry updated its regulations on wearing masks against COVID-19. According to the new guideline published on September 7, people with symptoms of acute respiratory infection or suspected COVID-19 infection and all the citizens (except children under 5) in areas announced as epidemic Level 3 and Level 4 must wear face masks in public places.