Coronavirus outbreak: WHO says key to stopping COVID-19 spread is ‘test and isolate’

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The World Health Organization’s director-general, Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, said on Monday that while he is pleased to see increased social distancing globally, the best way to stop COVID-19 from spreading is to “test and isolate.” He said countries must increase testing and isolate those who test positive, as well as close contacts, stressing their key message is “test, test, test.”

Ghebreyesus added that as some countries have exceeded their capacities to care for patients with mild symptoms and they should focus on more severe cases and prioritize those with underlying conditions. He said mild cases could be isolated at home and gave directions on safety procedures on how to take care of patients at home, including sleeping in a different bedroom, using a different bathroom, and wearing protective masks.

The director-general called COVID-19 the “defining global health crisis of our time,” and that fighting it would be a test of trust in science and in solidarity. He said moments like people applauding health workers in places like Italy shows the type of human solidarity that should become more “infectious” than the disease.

***Please note that this press conference is virtual. ***

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