18 countries issue joint statement supporting WHO; criticize US withdrawal

UNTV News   •   July 13, 2020   •   390

A total of 18 countries in Europe, the Caribbean, and South America convened a video conference and issued a joint statement on July 10, stating their strong support for the United Nations, especially the World Health Organization (WHO), and criticizing U.S. withdrawal from WHO.

The meeting was initiated by the European Union, France, and Spain. The EU countries participating in the meeting include Germany, Croatia, Spain, France, Italy, the Netherlands, Portugal, Slovenia, and Sweden, while the Latin American countries attending the conference are Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, Ecuador, Mexico, Peru, and Dominica.

The 18 countries believed that WHO plays a key role in the global collaborative fight against the COVID-19 pandemic. Cooperation and solidarity are at the core of responding to the pandemic.

The countries jointly support WHO in carrying out coordinated actions, conducting a fair, independent and comprehensive assessment and summarizing the experience of the international community in responding to the pandemic. (Reuters)

WHO laments world’s poorest countries might get left behind in COVID-19 vaccine distribution

Aileen Cerrudo   •   January 20, 2021

The World Health Organization (WHO) has lamented that distribution of COVID-19 vaccine to the “world’s poorest countries” could face delays.

WHO Director General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said richer countries and several private companies are buying up all the available vaccines. This also causes a spike in prices of COVID-19 vaccines.

“I need to be blunt: the world is on the brink of a catastrophic moral failure—and the price of this failure will be paid with lives and livelihoods in the world’s poorest countries,” he said.

Ghebreyesus reported that 39 million doses of vaccine have now been administered in at least 49 higher-income countries while only 25 have been administered in one lowest-income country.

“The situation is compounded by the fact that most manufacturers have prioritized regulatory approval in rich countries where the profits are highest, rather than submitting full dossiers to WHO,” he noted.

WHO previously promised free COVID-19 vaccines to poor countries enlisted in the COVAX facility, which includes the Philippines.

The WHO Director General also expressed concerns that the pandemic may last longer if there is no coordination in the vaccine distribution across the globe.

“Not only does this ‘me-first’ approach leave the world’s poorest and most vulnerable people at risk, it’s also self-defeating. Ultimately, these actions will only prolong the pandemic, the restrictions needed to contain it, and human and economic suffering,” he said. AAC (with reports from Mirasol Abogadil)

WHO, may emergency meeting kaugnay ng bagong COVID-19 variants

Robie de Guzman   •   January 15, 2021

MANILA, Philippines – Nagsagawa ng emergency meeting ang World Health Organization (WHO) upang talakayin ang banta ng kumakalat ngayong mga bagong variant ng novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19).

Ang mga napaulat na bagong variant ng COVID-19 ay sinasabing mas nakakahawa.

Ang unang nadiskubreng coronavirus mutation sa United Kingdom ay kumalat na sa 50 teritoryo habang ang South African variant naman ay natagpuan na umano sa 20 bansa. Ang ikatlong variant naman na nagmula umano sa Brazilian Amazon at nadisubre sa Japan ay kasalukuyan pang pinag-aaralan ng WHO.

Ang pagkalat ng bagong variant ng COVID-19 ay nagbunsod sa maraming bansa na magpatupad ng mas mahigpit pang quarantine restrictions.

Tuwing tatlong buwan nagpupulong ang Emergency Committee ng WHO upang talakayin ang sitwasyon kaugnay ng COVID-19 pandemic ngunit minabuti ng mga miyembro nito na magkita-kita sa lalong madaling panahon upang pag-usapan ang coronavirus mutations.

Ito na ang ika-anim na pulong ng WHO International Health Regulations Emergency Committee mula noong Enero 2020.

Cancer drug scrapped from WHO solidarity trial for COVID-19 treatments

Aileen Cerrudo   •   December 15, 2020

MANILA, Philippines — The World Health Organization (WHO) has removed the cancer drug, Acalabrutinib, from its solidarity trial for coronavirus disease (COVID-19) treatment, according to the Department of Health (DOH).

DOH Spokesperson Maria Rosario Vergeire did not disclose the reason for the removal and clarified that it was not administered to any patient in the country for COVID-19 treatment.

“Dumating iyong Acalabrutinib dito actually kaya lang biglang nag-stop na na nga iyong sinabi ng WHO na hindi na natin isasali so itong Acalabrutinib ay gagawan ng disposal mechanism (Acalabrutinib arrived in the country but WHO already announced its removal. So we will have a disposal mechanism for Acalabrutinib),” she said.

Meanwwhile, the DOH is closely coordinating with the WHO for the solidarity trials for COVID-19 vaccines. Vergeire said the trials are expected to begin in January 2021.

“There is this target date that they are seeing, it might be in January 3rd or 4th week of January; still to be finalized as I’ve said. We still need to meet with the WHO at the headquarters in Geneva,” she said. —AAC (with reports from Aiko Miguel)

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