COVID-19 Increases Health Risks of Heatwaves, UN Warns

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SWITZERLAND, MAY 26 – The United Nation’s weather agency, World Meteorological Organization has warned that COVID-19 is capable of heightening the risks of what was expected to be a record-breaking hot summer in the northern hemisphere. 

The organization strongly urged governments to devise safety strategies that will protect people during heatwaves without spreading the novel coronavirus.

This was disclosed by WMO spokeswoman, Clare Nullis Kapp on Tuesday during a virtual meeting briefing in Geneva.

“We’re currently experiencing one of the hottest years on record. COVID-19 amplifies the health risks of hot weather for many people, and it complicates the task of managing it,” she said.

The UN has joined forces with non-governmental organizations to call for stronger preparations to keep people safe in hot weather while keeping a lid on the pandemic.

Kapp disclosed that the information series, which covers topics such as ventilation, vulnerable populations, and personal protection equipment, is being issued “to alert decision-makers to try to help them manage the double challenge of heat and COVID.

In some places, what would typically be good advice during a heatwave — such as heading for air-conditioned indoor public spaces — runs counter to public health guidance due to the coronavirus crisis.

Recall that India is currently experiencing a widespread heatwave, with temperatures reaching 47.5 degrees Celsius (117.5 Fahrenheit) in the city of Churu in the northwestern Rajasthan state.

“India is experiencing a heatwave, and this is at the same time as India is relaxing the lockdown measures.

Heatwaves are becoming more frequent and intense because of climate change. This is putting increasing stress on human health and human health systems,” she added.

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