Over 90,000 health workers infected with Covid-19 worldwide: nurses group

Published May 6, 2020
A nurse, wearing protective gear and face mask, checks the temperature of a patient at the post Covid-19 unit of the Clinique Breteche private hospital in Nantes during the outbreak of coronavirus in France, April 30. — Reuters
A nurse, wearing protective gear and face mask, checks the temperature of a patient at the post Covid-19 unit of the Clinique Breteche private hospital in Nantes during the outbreak of coronavirus in France, April 30. — Reuters

At least 90,000 healthcare workers worldwide are believed to have been infected with Covid-19, and possibly twice that, amid reports of continuing shortages of personal protective equipment, the International Council of Nurses (ICN) said on Wednesday.

The disease has killed more than 260 nurses, it said in a statement, urging authorities to keep more accurate records to help prevent the virus from spreading among staff and patients.

The Geneva-based association said a month ago that 100 nurses had died in the pandemic sparked by the novel coronavirus that emerged in the central Chinese city of Wuhan late last year.

“The figure for healthcare workers infections has risen from 23,000 to we think more than 90,000, but that is still an underestimation because it is not [covering] every country in the world,” Howard Catton, ICN’s chief executive officer, told Reuters Television in its lakeside offices.

The 90,000 estimate is based on information collected on 30 countries from national nursing associations, government figures and media reports. The ICN represents 130 national associations and more than 20 million registered nurses.

Catton, noting that 3.5 million cases of Covid-19 have been reported worldwide, said: “If the average health worker infection rate, about 6 per cent we think, is applied to that, the figure globally could be more than 200,000 health worker infections today.

“The scandal is that governments are not systematically collecting and reporting on this information. It looks to us as though they are turning a blind eye which we think is completely unacceptable and will cost more lives,” Catton, added.

The World Health Organisation (WHO), which is coordinating the global response to the pandemic, says that its 194 member states are not providing comprehensive figures on health worker infections as they grapple with the unprecedented crisis.

The WHO last said on April 11 that some 22,000 health workers were thought to have been infected.

The ICN said it now believes those “shocking” figures to significantly underestimate the reality.

“This failure to record both infection rates and deaths among healthcare workers is putting more nurses and their patients in danger,” the statement said.

Opinion

Poisoning minds
23 Jan 2021

Poisoning minds

ICS cadets were raised on James Mill’s notorious work.
The fog of Broadsheet
23 Jan 2021

The fog of Broadsheet

How can the government pump credibility into an official probe when it has already declared its own political verdict?
Cheating on online exams
23 Jan 2021

Cheating on online exams

The difficulty of preventing online cheating and low ethical standards means that these days most students cheat.
Language mess
Updated 22 Jan 2021

Language mess

Our policy confuses the medium-of-instruction debate with the language-acquisition debate.

Editorial

23 Jan 2021

Power price hike

ALREADY struggling to cope with the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic and rising food prices, consumers received yet...
Updated 23 Jan 2021

Israeli land grab

WITH the chapter now closed on the Trump presidency, the eyes of many in the international community — ...
23 Jan 2021

New PhD policy

EARLIER in the week, the HEC chairman announced several changes for undergraduate and PhD degrees in the country....
Updated 22 Jan 2021

Time to heal

A multitude of foreign issues will test Biden’s mettle and require progressive thinking.
22 Jan 2021

Foreign funding

AS the pressure builds on his party in the foreign funding case, Prime Minister Imran Khan has called for an ...
22 Jan 2021

Decaying PTV

THE Cabinet Committee on State-Owned Enterprises has decided to remove Pakistan Television from the list of...