Russia-Ukraine clash paving way to increase Covid transmission: WHO
Russia-Ukraine clash paving way to increase Covid transmission: WHO

The World Health Organization (WHO) has cautioned that the ongoing Russia-Ukraine conflict will likely boost Covid-19 transmission, increasing the risk of huge numbers of individuals contracting serious disease.

At a news conference on Wednesday, WHO Director General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesu said, "WHO is profoundly worried about the emerging humanitarian disaster in Ukraine."

"Prior to the crisis, Ukraine has seen a significant spike in Covid-19 cases. Because there has been such a low rate of testing since the beginning of the conflict, there is likely to be significant undiscovered transmission.

"When combined with inadequate vaccination coverage, this raises the possibility of huge numbers of people developing serious disease," he warned, adding that major oxygen shortages will affect the ability to treat patients with Covid-19 and a variety of other diseases.

According to the UN High Commissioner for Refugees, over a million people have fled Ukraine, and the figure is anticipated to rise fast, according to WHO Director-General Dr. Margaret Chan.

"Mass population movements are likely to increase Covid-19 transmission, putting further strain on health systems in neighbouring nations." Mike Ryan, executive director of the WHO Health Emergencies Program, also spoke at the meeting, warning that significant population migrations as a result of the fighting could increase Covid-19 transmission while also supporting the emergence of a new variant.

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