Coronavirus pandemic getting worse globally, WHO head Tedros says
UNTV News • June 26, 2020 • 372
The COVID-19 pandemic is subsiding in Europe, but getting worse globally with the number of infections expected to reach 10 million next week and the number of deaths 500,000, the head of the World Health Organisation Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said on Thursday (June 25).
Speaking via video-conference with members of the European Parliament’s health committee, Tedros said more than 9.2 million COVID-19 cases had been reported to the Geneva-based WHO.
He warned the international community that the virus is still circulating, adding it was ‘time to be on our guard, not to let it down.’
The former Ethiopian health minister said it could take a year before an effective vaccine against the coronavirus that has caused the COVID-19 pandemic were to be invented.
Tedros rejected criticism that China did not warn other countries about the epidemic early enough, saying it was not possible to compare its response time with anyone.
He praised the Chinese authorities for the ‘very strong social measures’ it implemented in Wuhan – where the disease was first identified in late 2019 – and for being able to ‘identify the virus at a record time.’ (Reuters)
The international community has criticized the U.S. decision to quit the World Health Organization (WHO), saying the move has posed negative influences on its own anti-pandemic efforts and also global cooperation.
The United States on Tuesday officially submitted its notification of withdrawal from the WHO to the UN secretary-general, following an announcement made in May. The move came amid a rising number of coronavirus cases throughout the Americas over the past week.
The administration’s move to formally withdraw from WHO is short-sighted, unnecessary, and unequivocally dangerous, CEO of the United Nations Foundation Elizabeth Cousens said in a statement.
She said the WHO is the only body able to lead and coordinate the global response to COVID-19 and terminating the relationship undermines the global effort to beat this virus.
Germany’s Health Minister Jens Spahn said the “U.S. withdrawal from the WHO is a setback for international cooperation,” and called for global coordination which is necessary for fighting the pandemic.
“The U.S. withdrawal from WHO is a mistake. It is the public health authority for the world’s poorest and many will now see the U.S. as less reliable, diminishing its influence,” tweeted Tom Tugendhat, a UK Conservative Member of Parliament and also chairman of the Foreign Affairs Committee.
Italian Health Minister Roberto Speranza made comments saying that the U.S. withdrawal decision is “serious and wrong”.
With regard to the U.S. move of pulling out from international organizations and treaties, Pascal Boniface, Founder and Director of French Institute for International and Strategic Affairs (IRIS), said its unilateralism inclination sabotages the current international mechanism.
“The move of withdrawing from international organizations has become a customary gimmick by the U.S. government. The U.S. pulled out from the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization, the Paris Agreement, the Iran nuclear deal, and the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty,” he said.
“We can say that the U.S. withdrawal from the WHO has reflected the overall attitude of the government, which broke the current international mechanism and multilateralism. It is to pursue unilateralism,” he added. (Reuters)
The World Health Organization (WHO) said on Thursday (July 9) it was setting up an independent panel to review its handling of the COVID-19 pandemic and the response by governments.
The announcement follows strong criticism by United States President Donald Trump’s administration, which accused the WHO of being “China-centric,” and the U.S.’s formal notification on Tuesday that it was withdrawing from the U.N. agency in a year’s time.
Former New Zealand Prime Minister Helen Clark and former Liberian President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf have agreed to head the panel and chose its members, WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus told a virtual meeting with representatives of the agency’s 194 member states, which was webcast.
Tedros noted that in May, WHO’s member states adopted unanimously a resolution put forward by the European Union calling for an evaluation of the global response to the pandemic.
More than 12 million people have been reported to be infected by the novel coronavirus globally and 548,429 have died, according to a Reuters tally. (Reuters)
MANILA, Philippines – The Department of Health (DOH) on Wednesday called on employers from both the public and private sectors to strictly enforce minimum health standards to prevent the spread of novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19) in workplaces.
In a virtual press forum, Health Undersecretary Maria Rosario Vergeire said they issued the appeal after investigation by the DOH Epidemiology Team revealed there were lapses in the implementation of health protocols in some offices that reported COVID-19 cases.
The minimum health standards set by the government’s task force against COVID-19 include the wearing of face mask, observing physical distancing, among others.
“Bagama’t may physical distancing, mask and all pero kapag kumakain magkakasama sa pantry so noong pumutok ang impeksyon nakita na maybe some of them who ate in that pantry became positive,” she said.
Vergeire stressed that employers should make sure that these health protocols are strictly followed to prevent the transmission of the viral respiratory disease among their employees who physically report to work.
Amid the rising number of employees contracting coronavirus disease, the health official said the agency is discussing the conduct of random testing of workers as recommended by the research group from the University of the Philippines (UP).
The UP Research Team earlier made the proposal after more than 200 personnel of the Metro Rail Transit (MRT) line 3 tested positive for COVID-19.
Vergeire said the DOH is still weighing on the proposal as randomized testing is “resource intensive” and the country has limited resources amid the pandemic.
“Hindi ko pa alam kung kakayanin ng ating sistema, yung sinasabing randomized testing,” she said.
“And, for how long will do we do this, di ba? So pag ginawa natin iyan, sabi nga natin ang ating testing is a point in time event. So pag tinest kita ngayon, maaring bukas may bago ka ng exposure, itetest ba kita uli?” she added.
Vergeire also admitted that conducting contact tracing among MRT-3 passengers would be difficult given the number of people who ride the trains every day.
She said the DOH and the Inter-Agency Task Force are now studying other measures that may be implemented on mass transport apart from temporarily suspending operations.
“Kapag talagang widespread ang community transmission, ‘yung contact tracing hindi na talaga nagwo-work yan,” she said.
“Dito sa nangyari sa MRT na ito, gumagawa tayo ng ibang strategies for us to be able na ma-contain natin. Unang-una nagsara ang MRT. Pangalawa, lahat ng empleyadong apektado pati yung close contacts nila were all quarantined. Pangatlo, they are still trying to gather para ma-test pa rin yung ibang employees nila para somehow ma-contain natin,” she added.
Vergeire also stated that the DOH will release a new set of guidelines on COVID-19 expanded testing which will include more groups and individuals.
Under the current DOH protocol, COVID-19 tests are conducted on individuals manifesting symptoms, with exposure to COVID-19 positive patients, returning overseas Filipino workers as well as frontline workers. – RRD (with details from Correspondent Aiko Miguel)
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