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25 JULY 2022

Director of the Public Health and Reforms Center of the Ministry of Health, Gahraman Hagverdiyev: "Let's not forget that the new type of coronavirus is still with us and is still dangerous"

- Mr. Kahraman, what is the general situation regarding of COVID-19 infection in the world countries?

- Due to the high level of vaccination in our country, an epidemiologically stable situation remains in Azerbaijan, and fully under the control of the relevant health authorities. According to the order of the Ministry of Health, the Public Health and Reforms Center (PHRC) is carefully monitoring the situation of changes in cases of COVID-19 infection around the world, including in our country, and analyzing the trends.

Unfortunately, this year, since the middle of June, an increase in the number of coronavirus infection cases has been recorded in the world, and there are already talks about the next pandemic wave. During the last two weeks, there has been a sharp increase in the number of people infected with COVID-19 around the world. Thus, it is noted that the number of infection cases with the new coronavirus is increasing in 110 countries.

- What is the reason for the increase in infection cases?

- Experts justify the increase with new variants of the virus that have been spreading since June this year and are more contagious than the previous ones. Omicron is now the driving force of epidemic, infecting 290 million people in 7 months. Its lethality is about 0.35 percent, and this figure is lower in states where vaccination is actively practiced. According to epidemiologists, the reduction or complete elimination of anti-pandemic measures helps infectious strains to spread more quickly across the borders of countries. But there is also positive news. The number of complications and deaths is much lower than in the previous period when strains such as alpha, beta, gamma and the most dangerous delta prevailed. Of course, the emergence of this promising situation is closely related to the level of vaccination. However, an increase in the number of infections may lead to an increase in mortality, although not so like in delta strains. For this reason the World Health Organization (WHO) to activate an alarm.

- A certain increase in infection cases is observed in our country. What would you recommend to citizens?

- Unfortunately, there is an increase in the number of people infected with COVID-19 infection in Azerbaijan as well. There is also an increase in weekly cases in neighboring countries. Thus, in the last two weeks, a significant increase in the number of people infected with the coronavirus was reported in Turkey, Iran, Georgia and Russia.

There is a widespread belief among the population that the coronavirus disease continues as an acute respiratory viral infection (ARVI) and that even if you get sick, you will recover in a short period of time. But we must not forget that even a mild case of disease can lead to the post-COVID syndrome, the so-called "long-term covid" syndrome, which can last for 6 months or more. With the emergence of new mutations of the COVID-19 virus, its clinical picture has not changed much - fever, weakness, headaches and muscle pain, abdominal pain and diarrhea. Also, preventive measures have remained unchanged. Such as frequent and proper hand washing (at least 20 seconds), maintaining social distance (about 1.5-2 meters), wearing masks in public places, especially in closed spaces and in public transport, and frequent ventilation of rooms are among the important recommendations. If there are signs of infection, to consult a doctor and avoid contact with other people around you, if symptoms persist, to know whether there is a COVID infection you must taking the test.

I would like to advise our citizens to be careful. Let's not forget, the new type of coronavirus is still with us and still dangerous. By following these simple measures, we can protect ourselves and our loved ones not only from the coronavirus, but also from other infectious diseases.