[ LIVE UPDATE ] Coronavirus Chhattisgarh Pesent

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The COVID-19 pandemic is straining health systems worldwide. The rapidly increasing demand on health facilities and health care workers threatens to leave some health systems overstretched and unable to operate effectively.

Previous outbreaks have demonstrated that when health systems are overwhelmed, mortality from vaccine-preventable and other treatable conditions can also increase dramatically. During the 2014–2015 Ebola outbreak, the increased number of deaths caused by measles, malaria, HIV / AIDS, and tuberculosis attributable to health system failures exceeded deaths from Ebola [1,2].

"The best defense against any outbreak is a strong health system," stressed WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus. "COVID-19 is revealing how fragile many of the difficult health systems and services are, forcing countries to make difficult choices on how to best meet the needs of their people."

To help countries navigate through these challenges, the World Health Organization (WHO) has updated operational planning guidelines in balancing the demands of responding directly to COVID-19 while improving essential health service delivery and mitigating the risk of system collapse. This includes a set of targeted immediate actions that countries should consider at national, regional, and local levels to reorganize and maintain access to high-quality essential health services for all.

Countries should identify essential services that will be prioritized in their efforts to maintain continuity of service delivery and make strategic shifts to ensure that increasingly limited resources provide maximum benefit for the population. They also need to comply with the highest standard in precautions, especially in hygiene practices, and the provision of adequate supplies including personal protective equipment this requires robust planning and coordinated actions between governments and health facilities and their managers.

Some examples of essential services include routine vaccination; reproductive health services including care during pregnancy and childbirth; care of young infants and older adults; management of mental health conditions as well as noncommunicable diseases and infectious diseases like HIV, malaria and TB; critical inpatient therapies; management of emergency health conditions; auxiliary services like basic diagnostic imaging, laboratory services, and blood bank services, among others.

Well-organized and prepared health systems can continue to provide equitable access to essential service delivery throughout an emergency, limiting direct mortality and avoiding increased indirect mortality.

The guidelines stress the importance of keeping up-to-date information. This requires frequent transparent communications with the public, and strong community engagements so the public can maintain trust in the system to safely meet their essential needs and to control infection risk in health facilities. This will help ensure that people continue to seek care when appropriate, and adhere to public health advice.


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But there are concerns that the end of lockdowns will see thousands of infectious people move back into daily life without knowing they carry the virus, because they have no symptoms and so have not been tested.

Up to now, the number of known asymptomatic cases has been classified, and it is not included in the official data, though the South China Morning Post newspaper, citing unpublished official documents, recently said it was more than 40,000.

In an effort to dispel public fears about hidden cases of the virus, the government has this week ordered health authorities to turn their attention to finding asymptomatic cases and releasing their data on them.

Health authorities in Liaoning province were the fist to do so on Wednesday, saying the province had 52 cases of people with the coronavirus who showed no symptoms as of March 31, they said in a statement on a provincial government website.

Hunan province said it had four such cases, all of them imported from abroad, it said in a statement on its website.

The National Health Commission is due to start reporting aggregate, national data on asymptomatic cases later on Wednesday.

There is debate among experts about how infectious asymptomatic cases are but the commission has said all cases would be centrally quarantined for 14 days.

It said 1,541 people with asymptomatic coronavirus infections were under observation as of the end of Monday.





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