Editorial comment – We can see the light

FILE PHOTO: World Health Organization (WHO) Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus attends a news conference in Geneva Switzerland July 3, 2020. Fabrice Coffrini/Pool via REUTERS

On Wednesday, World Health Organization (WHO) director general Dr Tedros Adhanom made a statement that was picked up by various media houses across the world.

The end of the pandemic, he said, was in sight.

Repeating the statement made by Dr Tedros, Health Ministry permanent secretary Dr James Fong said the projection “should add to the need for countries to strengthen their capacity to live with the virus”.

Fiji, he noted, continued to see a persistent decrease in cases.

Strengthening our ability to live with COVID, he said, meant “we remain vigilant”.

Maintaining community-wide adoption of COVID-safe measures where appropriate, and maintaining impetus for immunisation remained the only means to reduce disease spread and protect those vulnerable in the community.

The impact of immunisation, Dr Fong said, was clearly demonstrated in Fiji’s hospitalisation rates for the severe disease which had decreased as reported by all divisional hospitals.

“And we know that vaccination combined with COVID safe measures will help keep the health care load manageable.”

The ministry said it recorded 19 new COVID-19 cases of which six cases were recorded in the Central Division and 13 in the Western Division.

According to Dr Tedros, the world was in a good position to end the pandemic.

However, the world is “not there yet”.

Dr Tedros is quoted saying the WHO has been working since New Year’s Eve 2019 to fight against the spread of COVID and will continue to do so until the pandemic is “truly over”.

“We can end this pandemic together, but only if all countries, manufacturers, communities and individuals step up and seize this opportunity,” he said.

In a report in UN News, he said: “A marathon runner does not stop when the finish line comes into view. She runs harder, with all the energy she has left. So must we. We can see the finish line. We’re in a winning position. But now is the worst time to stop running.”

If the world does not take the opportunity now, he warned, there was still a risk of more variants, deaths, disruption, and uncertainty.

“So, let’s seize this opportunity,” he said.

On the home front, we are reminded about our roles, and how important they are in the greater scheme of things.

We know what must be done.

We know the rules that are in place to keep us safe.

Our challenge continues to be the urgency with which we are willing to adhere to expert health advice daily, and common sense.

Let’s stay well and stay safe!

We are reminded!

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