Mbabane: The Ministry of Health has issued a stern warning to those who have recovered from the COVID-19 pandemic to observe the safety precautions as set out by the government and the World Health Organization (WHO).
Ministry of Health Lizzie Nkosi said recovering from the pandemic does not render one immune from re-infection and she implored recoveries to learn from their near-death experiences and stay at home. She said the use of masks in particular cannot be over emphasized and recoveries are advised to go with the flow and wear them.
As of Tuesday, Eswatini has recorded 87 recoveries out of the 208 confirmed cases and the number of deaths still stands at two.
As the pandemic continues its spread across the world the number of cases of coronavirus has reached more than 3 million, however, the latest figures also show that thousands of people have recovered from the disease.
“There is currently no evidence that people who have recovered from Covid-19 and have antibodies are protected from a second infection,” the organisation said.
According to Director of Pneumonia Prevention and Treatment at China Japan Friendship Hospital in Beijing, Li Qing Yuan, those who have been infected with Covid-19 develop a protective antibody – but it isn’t clear how long the protection lasts.
“However, in certain individuals, the antibody cannot last that long,” Li told USAToday. “For many patients who have been cured, there is a likelihood of relapse.
In a scientific brief, WHO warned governments against issuing “immunity passports” or “risk-free certificates” to people who have been infected as their accuracy could not be guaranteed.
The practice could actually increase the risks of continued spread as people who have recovered may ignore advice about taking standard precautions against the virus, said the world health body.
Said the WHO; “Some governments have suggested that the detection of antibodies to the SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19, could serve as the basis for an ‘immunity passport’ or ‘risk-free certificate’ that would enable individuals to travel or to return to work assuming that they are protected against re-infection.”
It said there is currently no evidence that people who have recovered from COVID-19 and have antibodies are protected from a second infection.
Countries like Chile are said to be beginning handing to out “health passports” to people deemed to have recovered from the illness.
Most studies have shown that people who have recovered from infection have antibodies to the virus, the WHO said. However, some of them have very low levels of neutralizing antibodies in their blood, suggesting that cellular immunity may also be critical for recovery.