The novel coronavirus' spread in the Asia-Pacific region is increasingly being driven by people in their 20s, 30s and 40s who are unaware they are infected because they have no or mild symptons, the World Health Organization (WHO) warned on Tuesday.
Because many of the young people are asymptomatic or have mild symptoms of Covid-19, they unknowingly pass on the virus to others, said Takeshi Kasai, WHO’s regional director based in Manila.
“This increases the risk of spillovers to the most vulnerable, the elderly, the sick people in long-term care, people who live in densely populated urban areas and underserved rural areas,” he told an online press conference.
“We must redouble our efforts to stop the virus from moving into the vulnerable communities,” he added.
"A new phase"
The Western Pacific region, which covers 27 countries in Asia and the Pacific, has so far confirmed more than 400,000 coronavirus infections and nearly 9,300 deaths, according to the WHO. The deaths represent 2.3% of all cases in the region.
The WHO said Asia-Pacific countries have entered “a new phase of the pandemic” where governments are adopting new tactics and strategies that minimize large-scale disruptions to people’s lives and economies while responding to Covid-19.
“Many are now detecting outbreaks earlier and responding to them faster with more targeted interventions and an agile approach that brings back health to societies and economies at the same time,” Kasai said.