“The real judge and test of a country’s capacity and resolve is how quickly and how comprehensively does each country respond to those signals that the disease is back,” he said at a press briefing on Monday in Geneva.
“I think both Australia and Japan deserve a lot of praise for the way in which they’re trying to contain the disease sub-national or at community level,” Ryan added.
The WHO official said that what countries are really trying to do is “ensure that small numbers of cases and clusters don’t reignite sustained and efficient community transmission.”
Governments should be praised, Ryan said, when they pick up on these clusters of cases and when they react quickly and demonstrate that they’re taking responsibility and communicating transparently.
“In order to go on with your life, you have to believe that the government has this,” he said. “And if there is disease in another community, far away from you, if you trust that the government has got that under control you can get on with your life.”
“We should refrain, I would hope, from overly criticizing governments who are actively seeking cases, actively doing surveillance, doing contact tracing, they’re trying to uncover the problem,” he said. “They’re trying to surface the issues and deal with the issues.”
Ryan said that situations that should worry people are those where problems aren’t being surfaced, or are being glossed over, where everything looks good.
“Because one thing is for sure with Covid, as it is with every infectious disease,” he said. “Just looking good does not mean things are good.”
Ryan said that he would rather being in a situation with a government that is “honest and truthful about the situation on the ground,” that communicates what is happening and demonstrates that it can take action and react quickly.