World News

World Health Organization Covid-19 Update

In a situation report published by the World Health Organization dated 10 am of March 15, nine new countries/territories/areas have reported cases of Covid-19 in the past 24 hours. These include seven in the African Region, one in the European Region, and one in the Region of the Americas.

Moreover, WHO Director-General Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus conducted a media briefing last March 13, addressing the current situation of the world in light of the Covid-19 outbreak.

“More than 132,000 cases of COVID-19 have now been reported to WHO, from 123 countries and territories. 5,000 people have lost their lives, a tragic milestone. Europe has now become the epicenter of the pandemic, with more reported cases and deaths than the rest of the world combined, apart from China. More cases are now being reported every day than were reported in China at the height of its epidemic. We’re encouraged that many countries are now acting on the 8 pillars of WHO’s Strategic Preparedness and Response Plan. Most countries now have a national plan; most are taking a multi-sectoral approach and most have laboratory testing capacity. WHO has evidence-based guidance that every country can use, according to each of the 8 pillars. And we’re continuing to support countries to prepare and respond,” excerpt from the opening remarks of WHO Director-General Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, during the media briefing last March 13.

The World Health Organization also has a directive for government, businesses, and individuals.

  • First, prepare and be ready. In the statement by the WHO Director-General, every person must know the signs and symptoms and how to protect themselves and others; every health worker should be able to recognize this disease, provide care and know what to do with their patients; and every health facility should be ready to cope with large numbers of patients, and ensure the safety of staff and patients.
  • Second, detect, protect and treat. “You can’t fight a virus if you don’t know where it is,” stated in the opening remarks of the WHO Director-General. Find, isolate, test and treat every case, to break the chains of transmission.
  • Third, reduce transmission. Isolate the sick and quarantine their contacts. In addition, measures that increase social distancing such as canceling sporting events may help to reduce transmission. These measures, of course, should be based on local context and risk assessment and should be time-limited.
  • And fourth, innovate and learn. There are simple, effective things we can all do to reduce the risk of infection: clean hands regularly with an alcohol-based rub or soap and water; cover mouth and nose with an elbow if you cough or sneeze; stay home if you’re sick; avoid unnecessary travel and large social gatherings; comply with the advice of your local or national health authority; find and share reliable information.

Covid-19 Solidarity Response Fund. WHO also introduced the Covid-19 Solidarity Response Fund. Together with the United Nations Foundation and the Swiss Philanthropy Foundation, WHO has launched the COVID-19 Solidarity Response Fund, to enable individuals and organizations to contribute.

The fund will enable the agency to send essential supplies (personal protective equipment) to frontline health workers; enable countries to track and detect disease by boosting laboratory capacity; ensure health workers and communities to access latest science-based information; and accelerate efforts to fast-track the discovery and development of vaccines, diagnostics, and treatments.

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