“Alarming number” of health care workers infected with Covid-19, WHO says

World Health Organization infectious disease epidemiologist Maria Van Kerkhove said globally, “there is an alarming number of health care worker infections.”

“In some countries, upwards of 10% of the reported cases are among health care workers,” she added.

Speaking on Monday during a media briefing, Van Kerkhove said WHO is looking into where and why health care workers are getting infected, and working to reduce and stop the infections.

“What we understand from the studies that are being reported and from teleconferences that we are having with clinicians and with infection control specialists, is that many health care workers have had contact with a known case that is among a family member,” Van Kerkhove said.

“Many of them have been infected outside of a health care facility,” she added.

Van Kerkhove said those who are getting infected inside the facility often come in contact with a patients in a ward that is not equipped to handle Covid-19 patients. Others are infected after spending extended periods of time in wards with active Covid-19 cases, inadequate personal protection equipment and sub-optimal hand hygiene, she said.

The pandemic is not over yet: WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus warned that most of the world’s population is still susceptible to infection since many people have not developed antibodies against the virus.

“Early serological studies reflect that a relatively low percentage of the population has antibodies to Covid-19, which means most of the population is still susceptible to the virus,” he said, adding this is something for nations to consider if they plan to lift lockdown measures and other restrictions.

There have now been more than four million cases of Covid-19 across the world.


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