A woman undergoes a PCR test for the novel coronavirus at a control post in the municipality of Renca, Santiago, on Monday. AFP
The Geneva-based body has frequently warned about other life-saving programmes being impacted by the pandemic and has sent countries mitigation advice, but the survey yielded the first WHO data so far on the scale of disruptions.
"The impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on essential health services is a source of great concern," said a report on the study released on Monday.
"Major health gains achieved over the past two decades can be wiped out in a short period of time..."
The survey includes responses from between May and July from more than 100 countries. Among the most affected services were routine immunisations (70%), family planning (68%) and cancer diagnosis and treatment (55%), while emergency services were disturbed in almost a quarter of responding countries.
The Eastern Mediterranean Region, which includes Afghanistan, Syria and Yemen, was most affected followed by the African and Southeast Asian regions, it showed. The Americas was not part of the survey.
Since COVID-19 cases were first identified in December last year, the virus is thought to have killed nearly 850,000 people, the latest Reuters tally showed.
Researchers think that non-COVID deaths have also increased in some places due partly to health service disruptions, although these may be harder to calculate.
The WHO survey said it was "reasonable to anticipate that even a modest disruption in essential health services could lead to an increase in morbidity and mortality from causes other than COVID-19 in the short to medium and long-term." Further research was needed.
It also warned that the disruptions could be felt even after the pandemic ends. "The impact may be felt beyond the immediate pandemic as, in trying to catch up on services, countries may find that resources are overwhelmed."Agencies
"There is currently no evidence that people who have recovered from #COVID19 and have antibodies are protected from a second infection," WHO said in a statement.
World leaders must not politicise the coronavirus pandemic but unite to fight it, the head of the World Health Organisation (WHO) warned on Monday, reminding all that the pandemic is still accelerating and producing record daily increases in infections.
According to the study, COVID-19 cases and deaths are constantly on the rise in Pakistan at the moment, however, the number of casualties in the future can be significantly decreased if the people of Pakistan adopt precautionary measures.
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The US continues to be the worst-hit country with the world's highest number of cases and deaths at 42,087,282 and 673,763, respectively. In terms of infections, India follows in the second place with 33,448,163 cases.