The World Health Organization stressed on Monday that contact tracking apps and other technologies cannot replace old-fashioned surveillance measures as many countries begin to loosen the locks imposed on the new corona virus.
"We would like to emphasize very, very much that IT tools do not replace the basic public health workforce needed to track down, test, isolate and quarantine," said Mike Ryan, WHO’s top emergency expert Journalists in an online briefing section in Geneva.
He emphasized the need for a "shoe leather epidemiology" and praised the success of places like South Korea and Singapore for their strategy.
Many countries are loosening blocking restrictions to revitalize the economy, and contact tracking apps are expected to play a role in identifying new cases and containing clusters.
At the same meeting, WHO Director General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus urged the world to band together to defeat the new corona virus.
"This virus will be with us for a long time, and we need to come together to develop and share the tools to defeat it," he said.
"We will prevail through national unity and global solidarity," he added, praising the $ 8 billion pledge by world leaders to fight the coronavirus pandemic.
The Geneva-based panel will release its updated strategic preparation and response plan this week, which will update its funding needs to support international and national plans to combat the virus, Tedros said.
Ryan said WHO welcomed the recent clinical trial data for the remdesivir drug from Gilead Sciences Inc. and said "there are signs of hope for potential drug use" in COVID-19 patients.
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