Muscat: H.E. Dr. Ahmed bin Mohammed Al-Saidi, Minister of Health and First Deputy Member of the Executive Board of the World Health Organization (WHO), took part on Monday in the virtual extraordinary meeting of the WHO Executive Council.
The two-day meeting aims to address the latest developments related to the response to coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, coordinating the global efforts to combat the pandemic, identifying its main developments and the mechanism for tackling such developments.
"The Independent Panel on Pandemic Preparedness and Response reviewed a report on the gained experiences and lessons learned from the health response to the Covid-19 pandemic, which is coordinated by the WHO. The report also included the panel's key recommendations on capacity building to pandemic control, prevention and preparedness at the global level and the importance of reinforcing the health emergency program," a statement by the Ministry of Health (MoH) said. Al-Saidi delivered a speech during the meeting on behalf of the Eastern Mediterranean Region (EMR) countries, in which he said, “The governments are working at full speed to contain the pandemic in their countries. In addition to the public health risks that the virus presents, we are also understandably concerned about the economic, social and political costs of the pandemic”
He also added, “Many countries had earlier implemented measures over the past months that resulted in successful containment of the virus and a steady decline in cases. Across the Region, more than almost 40 million people have been tested, and more than two million people have recovered from COVID-19. But now these countries, and many others, are seeing a worrying increase. In some countries, between 1000 - 3000 new cases are being reported in a 24-hour period. Other factors are also contributing to the rise in numbers that are cause for concern, and that we need to directly and aggressively address. These include COVID fatigue among communities and misinformation that are limiting the uptake of personal protective measures, such as mask wearing and physical distancing. They also include our slow progress at scaling up essential public health measures, such as testing and contact tracing."
The Minister of Health stressed that Health workers are a valuable resource, especially in the Eastern Mediterranean Region, and emphasized the need to protect themselves as they manage both COVID-19 and other patients.
Al-Saidi concluded his speech by noting that the search for a safe and effective vaccine continues, and seven countries in the Region are engaged in phase 3 trials. He confirmed the need to ensure fair and equitable distribution of the vaccine to all health workers and to all countries in the Region, especially those with greater numbers of vulnerable populations - exposed to famine, natural disasters, political conflict and other disease outbreaks -- who have already suffered enough.