WHO Office Manager for the Index: Restrictions also cause mental harm

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Is the World Health Organization satisfied ( WHO) wearing the masks of the Hungarians?

Wearing a mask can be interpreted as part of a complex package of public health measures, it is not worth taking it out of that context. This is because the mask alone does not protect you. It is effective if it is worn by other people and if we follow the other precautions recommended by the WHO and governments. According to one of our surveys, it is effective in curbing the spread of the epidemic when 95 percent of the population wears the mask. Although we do not have statistics on the proportion in Hungary, we know that less than 60 percent of the population in Europe wears a mask.

He mentioned the other precautions. What else do we need to pay attention to?

Physical distance is of paramount importance among community precautions. In more and more places, paintings help people keep the required distance, but we also need to pay attention to this when, for example, we walk past someone on the street. We need to be especially careful if we notice any symptoms in ourselves. Many do not take the initial signs of the disease seriously, they also go to communities with fever. In this case, stay at home and report to your GP. If necessary, we should do a test and only go back to our community if there is a negative result. By volunteering in quarantine and supporting contact testing, we can do a lot in controlling the epidemic.

There are also shortcomings in contact research in Hungary. Has the WHO addressed this?

The infection has skyrocketed across Europe, which has also hampered the effectiveness of contact research. Follow-up of diseases has become particularly difficult as the epidemic has infected communities in many countries. Therefore, I must stress that government measures such as contact research can only be effective if other measures are followed. It is therefore important for individuals to follow the guidelines of the WHO and their governments in defense. Together, government action and people’s efforts lead to results.

It is difficult to arouse people’s sense of responsibility when the health care system is overwhelmed, when they have to pay for tests …

Believe me, this is not the first time I have met this opinion. The increase in the number of people infected with Covid-19 places a disproportionate burden on health. Knowing that the increased number of cases is not accompanied by an increase in testing and follow-up capacity, the WHO is trying to help with its case definition recommendations, for example. A positive PCR test is needed to diagnose the disease, but if we are unable to do a test, it will still help a lot in curbing the epidemic if all those who are in close contact volunteer in quarantine and report their situation to the GP.

Are you satisfied with the WHO with epidemic management of the Hungarian government?

In Europe, the virus later reached Hungary, and in the first wave the government was able to take advantage of it. As a result, it managed to significantly reduce the infection in the spring. However, due to the second wave, the WHO was concerned from the outset and made a recommendation on public health and social measures. With the lifting of restrictions, discipline has been relaxed in the world, including in Hungary, and this is reflected in the statistics we are now seeing. The lesson is that we need to take preparation seriously for prevention if we are to be effective. During the autumn-winter period, it is also to be expected that more people will be indoors, so the virus will spread faster.

In Hungary, too, strict closures are the most important governmental steps in defense. How are these assessed by the WHO?

According to the WHO, closures are the last line of defense. Drastic action is needed when the health care system reaches its limits of performance. However, when a government decides on closures, it must take into account the additional consequences, such as the deterioration of the mental health of the population. Children are also at a disadvantage.

What can justify the release of closures?

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