The World Health Organisation (WHO), on Thursday, said that 10 months into the pandemic, handwashing with soap remains one of the best defenses against the virus, along with other public health measures. The other measures include maintaining physical distance, avoiding crowded places, practicing cough etiquette, and wearing a mask wherever recommended.
WHO made the statement on the Global Handwashing Day that is observed annually on October 15. The day is celebrated to raise awareness and highlight the importance of handwashing as an effective means of disease prevention.
WHO said that this year marks a critical reminder for the world that this simple, cost-effective practice can save lives.
Speaking on the occasion, Poonam Khetrapal Singh, Regional Director, WHO South-East Asia Region, said in an official statement: “Handwashing has always been one of the most effective ways of keeping diseases at bay. It is a simple act that pays dividends when it comes to keeping ourselves healthy and safe.”
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She added: “Handwashing is also one of the key cornerstones of Covid-19 prevention. Now more than ever as we embrace the new normal and live with Covid-19, hand hygiene needs to become an integral part of our daily routine and our lives, as we live through this pandemic, and beyond, to protect us from diseases.”
WHO believes that washing hands with soap and running water is of critical importance as Covid-19 spreads through direct or indirect association with infected people and contaminated surfaces.
To stop the spread of Covid-19, the practice of handwashing at regular intervals is a must, after coughing or sneezing, when caring for the sick, after using the toilet, before eating, while preparing food and after handling animals or animal waste, recommended WHO.
Handwashing after touching common surfaces such as doorknobs or handles, or after one comes back home from outside is highly important.
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“Promoting hand hygiene at all levels of health care is also critical. Hand hygiene, a very simple action, is well accepted to be one of the primary modes of reducing healthcare-associated infection and of enhancing patient safety,” the Regional Director said.
“The pandemic is still among us and it is far from over. We must remind ourselves of the basics that we, as individuals, can do to keep ourselves safe,” she further added.