Gospel for Asia Warns Global ‘Handwashing Crisis’ Could Compound Coronavirus Plague

Hundreds of millions of people around the world can’t take the most basic precaution against the coronavirus or other diseases — because they don’t have clean water or soap to wash their hands, mission agency warned Gospel for Asia (GFA, www.gfa.org).

According to a GFA press release, experts say one of the most effective ways to halt the deadly virus — which has killed almost 8,000 people worldwide so far — is to wash hands regularly with soap for at least 20 seconds.

“Many people are terrified and living in fear right now,” said GFA founder Dr. K.P. Yohannan, ahead of World Water Day, March 22, an annual awareness event. “But with more than 2,000 people—mostly kids—who die every day from diarrhea alone, simply because they don’t have access to clean water to drink or wash their hands, that helps put things in perspective.

“For hundreds of millions of people, the coronavirus, though dangerous, is the least of their problems.”

The coronavirus — known as COVID-19 and declared a global pandemic — has spread to more than 160 countries and every U.S. state, with numbers climbing daily.

Stepping up its campaign to promote handwashing as the “frontline defense” against the coronavirus, the Global Handwashing Partnership, a coalition of health agencies, said handwashing with soap could reduce acute respiratory infections like the coronavirus by nearly 25 percent.

“Handwashing with soap is easy and saves lives,” the coalition said.

But for more than half the world’s population, “handwashing with soap and clean water is not easy at all,” said Yohannan. “It’s a problem we as a ministry have been actively helping to combat for years.”

According to the United Nations, 4.2 billion people around the world lack basic sanitation, including handwashing facilities that many in developed nations take for granted.

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SOURCE: Assist News, Peter Wooding