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The World Health Organization has warned that the Novel Corona virus pandemic threatens to reverse progress towards eliminating tuberculosis, until now the top infectious disease killer globally. WHO said, the countries hit hard by tuberculosis such as India and South Africa have seen resources usually allocated to diagnosing and treating TB diverted to fighting Corona virus.

The report estimated that TB could cause this year between 2,00,000 and 4,00,000 more deaths than the 1.4 million last year, even though remedies exist.

WHO Chief Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said that the COVID-19 pandemic threatens to unwind the gains made over recent years. He said, the impact of the pandemic on TB services has been severe. Data collated by WHO from high TB burden countries show sharp drops in TB notifications in 2020.

The report said in India alone, weekly and monthly notifications plunged by 50 per cent from the end of March to end of April following a lockdown in the country, which has the highest number of cases in the world.

Already in early May, the WHO's department to halt tuberculosis estimated that three months of lockdown could lead to six million new infections and 1.4 million extra TB deaths between 2020 and 2025.




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