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Shangula urges people to remain calm amid increased cases of respiratory illness among children in northern China

Shangula urges people to remain calm amid increased cases of respiratory illness among children in northern China

The Minister of Health and Social Services, Dr Kalumbi Shangula, held a press conference on Wednesday to discuss the recent surge of respiratory illnesses primarily affecting children in the northern regions of China.

During the briefing in Windhoek, Shangula in a statement said that the ministry is committed to monitoring health development locally, regionally, and internationally, citing the importance of remaining vigilant in light of frequent disease outbreaks.

According to Shangula, Namibia was alerted on 22 November, regarding the increased incidences of respiratory diseases among children in northern China.

“The Chinese authorities attributed this increase to several factors. These include the lifting of COVID-19 restrictions; the arrival of the cold season in the northern hemisphere; the circulating known pathogens such as influenza, Mycoplasma pneumoniae, respiratory syncytial virus; as well as the severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2. Mycoplasma pneumonia and respiratory syncytial virus are known to affect children more than adults,” he said.

Shangula underscored the lessons learned from recent outbreaks, including hepatitis E and the profound socio-economic impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic, stressing the necessity for robust preparedness.

Despite this surge in China and other northern hemisphere countries being anticipated during winter, Namibia’s ongoing surveillance activities have not detected a similar increase in respiratory infections, including COVID-19, or associated hospitalizations or deaths, Shangula said, while he reassured the Namibian public of the country’s preparedness.

“As it currently stands, the World Health Organization does not recommend any specific measures for travelers to China in light of the reported increases in respiratory infections in that country,” he added.

Shangula urged the public to remain calm, stating that the reported increase in cases does not currently pose a public health threat in Namibia.

Continuous monitoring and surveillance of respiratory pathogens will persist while maintaining stability in Namibia’s health situation, he concluded.


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