Delivery of tests will increase five-fold in May, predicts WHO
Tuesday, 28 April 2020
The World Health Organisation (WHO) thinks it is “likely” to be able to deliver a five-fold increase in tests for the new coronavirus (Covid-19) in May.
The demand for medical equipment has reached up to 200% of the usual figures, said one of its officials in Geneva on Tuesday. So far, more than a million tests have been relayed to 126 countries, but “in small quantities,” the WHO supply chief told the press. These have helped identify imported cases and contacts around them, and the system has had “some success.”
Some 1.5 million more tests are expected soon. The volume is expected to increase fivefold in May compared to the last six weeks, according to the WHO.
Compared to the usual figures, the demand for personal protective equipment, tests and biomedical products has increased in some cases by 100% and even up to 200%. The WHO believes that it has not been long in launching its efforts.
“The market could not respond” to the challenges, it said. Especially because most of the economic partners were in China and had to shut down their factories, but also because some states had limited their exports, and air traffic had been reduced.
However, it was possible to deliver personal protection components quickly to around 80 countries. The WHO and other UN agencies then decided on a “different approach” by launching their own airlift with commercial aircraft.
Because of this, the World Food Programme (WFP) was able to relay supplies to more than 50 countries in Africa. It also warned that the number of people suffering from severe acute malnutrition could double in the next three months in nine East African countries if no assistance is provided.