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WHO urges Asia-Pacific to brace up for long-term battle against virus pandemic

“This is a pandemic unlike the world has ever seen, and it has changed our system and put a strain on people’s lives in an unprecedented way,” said Takeshi Kasai, WHO regional director for the Western Pacific region.

The World Health Organisation (WHO) on Tuesday urged Asia-Pacific countries to brace up for a long-term battle against the coronavirus and stressed the need for nations not to let their guard down even if cases taper off.

“This is a pandemic unlike the world has ever seen, and it has changed our system and put a strain on people’s lives in an unprecedented way,” said Takeshi Kasai, WHO regional director for the Western Pacific region.

“Let me be clear – the epidemic is far from over in Asia and the Pacific.

“This is going to be a long-term battle and we cannot let down our guard,” he told an online press conference.

Kasai said there are currently 50 candidate vaccines against Covid-19, with several already undergoing clinical trials

He added that the WHO is holding trials to test the safety and effectiveness of treatment protocols, and urged countries to take part in the studies to help produce output that can be analysed.

While the research was moving at “remarkable speed,” Kasai said countries needed to practice “common tactics” of finding, isolating, and testing cases early as well as putting physical distance in communities to help stop or slow down the transmission in the meantime.

“These measures can buy us valuable time to prepare for large-scale community transmission,” he said.

“We still don’t know how long this Covid-19 fight will continue.

“There are people around the world working 24 hours, 7 days, they’re doing their best to fight Covid. But it’s unlikely this virus will disappear next week or even next month,” Kasai added.

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