(PRESS RELEASE) – Former Chief Medical Officer, Dr Patrick Martin has endorsed a recent statement by Director General of the World Health Organisation (WHO), Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, that countries need to use lockdown time to attack the coronavirus (COVID-19).
“Asking people to stay at home and shutting down population movement is buying time and reducing the pressure on health systems. But on their own, these measures will not extinguish epidemics,” the WHO Director General said at a press conference on March 25, the same day that St Kitts and Nevis confirmed its first two positive cases.
“The implication for St Kitts and Nevis? Now that the border is closed, the key measures for conquering COVID-19 are rigorous testing, quarantine, isolation plus communication. The point of these actions is to enable the more precise and targeted measures that are needed to stop transmission and save lives,” said Dr Martin on Friday.
The WHO director general said lockdown creates “a second window of opportunity. The question is, how will you use it?” and recommended six key actions.
First, expand, train and deploy your health care and public health workforce;
Second, implement a system to find every suspected case at community level;
Third, ramp up the production, capacity and availability of testing;
Fourth, identify, adapt and equip facilities you will use to treat and isolate patients;
Fifth, develop a clear plan and process to quarantine contacts;
And sixth, refocus the whole of government on suppressing and controlling COVID-19.
These measures are the best way to suppress and stop transmission, so that when restrictions are lifted, the virus doesn’t resurge.”