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Coronavirus: Middle East states not offering enough information about virus, says WHO

The health organisation said a swift access to information would bolster the fight against the disease
Members of the Syrian Civil defence wear protective gears as they spray disinfectant to sanitise a classroom as part of the preventive measures against the spread of the coronavirus, in Afrin, Syria 18 March 2020 (Reuters)

The World Health Organization (WHO) said on Wednesday that countries in the Middle East have not been sufficiently communicating about coronavirus cases, calling on governments to offer more information to strengthen the response against the disease in the region.

"Unfortunately, even today, as the situation is becoming critical, information on cases is insufficiently communicated by countries to WHO," Ahmed Al-Mandhari, WHO Regional Director for the Eastern Mediterranean, said.

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Mandhari said the approach in the region to fight the coronavirus, also known as COVID-19, had so far been "uneven" and that much more needs to be done.

Improved access to information would allow the WHO to track the spread of the virus closely and swiftly apply effective public health measures, Mandhari told reporters in a video-conference briefing.

The WHO had seen efforts to strengthen surveillance, scale up testing and support families who are isolating relatives or in quarantine, he added.

"But much more needs to be done. In most countries we still have time to more rapidly accelerate our efforts."

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