The World Health Organisation (WHO) says young people are not invincible to COVID-19, as data from countries show that people under 50 years old make up a significant proportion of patients requiring hospitalisation.
Dr Tedros Ghebreyesus, WHO Director-General, at a media briefing on Friday, March 20, 2020, said the organisation had discovered that though older people were the hardest hit, younger people were, however, not spared from the virus.
“Today, I have a message for young people; you are not invincible. This Coronavirus could put you in hospital for weeks, or even kill you.
“Even, if you don’t get sick, the choices you make about where you go could be the difference between life and death for someone else.
“I’m grateful that so many young people are spreading the word and not the virus.
“Solidarity is the key to defeating COVID-19, solidarity among countries, but also between age groups. Thank you for heeding our call for solidarity,” Ghebreyesus said.
He noted that daily, COVID-19 seems to reach a new and tragic milestone, saying more than 210,000 cases have now been reported to WHO, and more than 9,000 people have lost their lives.
“Every loss of life is a tragedy. It’s also motivation to double down and do everything we can to stop transmission and save lives.
“Yesterday, Wuhan, China, reported no new cases for the first time since the COVID-19 outbreak started.
“Wuhan provides hope for the rest of the world, that even the most severe situation can be turned around,” he said.
Ghebreyesus, however, called for caution, saying that the situation could be reversed.
He added that the experience of cities and countries that have pushed back COVID-19 give hope and courage to the rest of the world.
The director-general noted that the collapsed of the market for personal protective equipment had created extreme difficulties in ensuring that health workers have access to the equipment they need to do their jobs safely and effectively.
“This is an area of key concern for us. We have now identified some producers in China who have agreed to supply WHO.
“We’re currently finalising the arrangements and coordinating shipments so we can refill our warehouse to ship personal protective equipment to whoever needs it most.
“Our aim is to build a pipeline to ensure continuity of supply, with support from our partners, governments and the private sector,” Ghebreyesus said.
He expressed his gratitude to Jack Ma and his foundation, as well as Aliko Dangote, for their willingness to help provide essential supplies to the countries in need.
Ghebreyesus said that WHO was working actively to support all countries, and especially those that needs its support the most.
By Oluwafunke Ishola