Home NewsInternational COVID-19: Countries urged to scale up surveillance, protective measures amid surge in cases

COVID-19: Countries urged to scale up surveillance, protective measures amid surge in cases

by Haruna Gimba
0 comment

By Haruna Gimba with agency report

The World Health Organisation (WHO) has urged the countries in the Southeast Asia Region to strengthen surveillance and asked people to take protective measures in view of rising cases of respiratory diseases including influenza and Covid sub-variant JN.1.

A press release stated that the COVID-19 virus continues to evolve, change, and circulate in all countries globally.

“While current evidence suggests the additional public health risk posed by JN.1 is low, we must continue to track the evolution of these viruses to tailor our response. For this, countries must strengthen surveillance and sequencing and ensure the sharing of data,” Dr Poonam Khetrapal Singh, Regional Director, WHO South-East Asia, said in a statement.

Notably, WHO has classified JN.1 as a variant of interest following its rapid global spread. In recent weeks, JN.1 has been reported in multiple countries, and its prevalence has been rapidly increasing globally.

Considering the available, yet limited, evidence, the additional public health risk posed by JN.1 is currently evaluated as low at the global level. It is anticipated that this variant may cause an increase in COVID-19 cases amid a surge of other viral and bacterial infections, especially in countries entering the winter season, the release stated.

“As people travel and gather for festivities during the holiday season, spending a lot of time together indoors where poor ventilation facilitates transmission of viruses that cause respiratory diseases, they must take protective measures and seek timely clinical care when unwell,” said Dr Khetrapal Singh.

 The Regional Director also emphasised the importance of vaccination against COVID-19 and influenza, especially for people at high risk.

“All WHO-approved COVID-19 vaccines continue to protect against severe disease and death from all variants, including JN.1,” she said.

Earlier in May, following a sustained decline in the trajectory of COVID-19 cases, hospitalizations and deaths, and high levels of population immunity to SARS-CoV2, WHO declared COVID-19 no longer constituted a public health emergency of international concern.

While considerable progress has been made in establishing and strengthening a global system to detect and rapidly assess risks posed by SARS-CoV-2, testing and reporting of COVID-19 cases have decreased, the release added.

With COVID-19 continuing to circulate at high levels globally, countries must strengthen surveillance, sequencing, and reporting to effectively manage respiratory diseases and protect people’s health, the Regional Director said.

Related Articles

Leave a Comment

About Us

Feature Posts


@2024 – Health Reporters