Protect the unvaccinated, then offer boosters – WHO

Protect the unvaccinated, then offer boosters – WHO

Getting an initial course of COVID-19 vaccines to unprotected groups all over the world should remain a top priority before offering booster shots to vulnerable groups, World Health Organisation (WHO) Emergency Director Mike Ryan said on Tuesday. A major study on Tuesday found that two doses of Pfizer-BioNTech's COVID-19 vaccine appear to have given 70% protection against hospitalisation in South Africa in recent weeks, suggesting weaker efficacy against the new Omicron variant. Ryan said he expected the current vaccines would provide significant protection against hospitalisation and death, but that the data coming through was very preliminary and the WHO did not have…
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Malaria deaths rise by 69,000 in 2020 due to COVID-19 disruptions, says WHO

Malaria deaths rise by 69,000 in 2020 due to COVID-19 disruptions, says WHO

Healthcare disruptions linked to the coronavirus pandemic helped malaria kill 69,000 more people in 2020 than the previous year, but a worst-case scenario was averted, the World Health Organization said on Monday. In total over 627,000 people globally - most of them babies in the poorest parts of Africa - were killed by malaria last year compared with 558,000 in 2019, the WHO said in its annual malaria report. The number eclipses the 224,000 people reported to have died from the coronavirus in Africa since the start of the pandemic. About two thirds of the additional malaria deaths in 2020 were due to coronavirus restrictions disrupting prevention, diagnosis…
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WHO says it is not yet clear if Omicron causes more severe disease

WHO says it is not yet clear if Omicron causes more severe disease

GENEVA, Nov 28 (Reuters) - The World Health Organization (WHO) said on Sunday that it is not yet clear if the new Omicron coronavirus variant is more transmissible compared to other SARS-CoV-2 variants or if it causes more severe disease. "Preliminary data suggests that there are increasing rates of hospitalization in South Africa, but this may be due to increasing overall numbers of people becoming infected, rather than a result of specific infection with Omicron," it said. However, in a statement, the agency reiterated that preliminary evidence suggests there may be a higher risk of reinfection from the variant. The…
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WHO-led programme aims to buy antiviral COVID-19 pills for $10

WHO-led programme aims to buy antiviral COVID-19 pills for $10

A World Health Organization-led programme to ensure poorer countries get fair access to COVID-19 vaccines, tests and treatments aims to secure antiviral drugs for patients with mild symptoms for as little as $10 per course, a draft document seen by Reuters says. Merck & Co's experimental pill molnupiravir is likely to be one of the drugs, and other drugs to treat mild patients are being developed. The document, which outlines the goals of the Access to COVID-19 Tools Accelerator (ACT-A) until September next year, says that the programme wants to deliver about 1 billion COVID-19 tests to poorer nations, and procure…
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WHO’s Tedros wins German backing for second term

WHO’s Tedros wins German backing for second term

BERLIN, Sept 21 (Reuters) - German Health Minister Jens Spahn backed a second term for World Health Organization chief Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus and called on other countries to support the former Ethiopian health minister ahead of a deadline this week. "We invite partner countries to join us nominating DG (Director General) Tedros," Spahn told Reuters. The support is significant as Germany is a major financial backer of the WHO. Last week, sources told Reuters that Tedros looks set to run unopposed for a second term at the helm of the WHO as it tries to guide the world through its…
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Former UK Prime Minister Gordon Brown appointed WHO Ambassador for Global Health Financing

Former UK Prime Minister Gordon Brown appointed WHO Ambassador for Global Health Financing

The World Health Organization has announced the appointment of Gordon Brown, former Prime Minister of the United Kingdom, as WHO Ambassador for Global Health Financing. Mr Brown is widely credited with preventing a second Great Depression through his stewardship of the 2009 London G20 summit. He mobilized world leaders to commit an additional $1.1 trillion to restore credit, growth and jobs to help the world economy through the global financial crisis.  More recently, Mr Brown has called on wealthy nations as well as the private sector to ensure the equitable distribution of COVID-19 vaccines, advocating for a concerted global effort…
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Are COVID-19 boosters ethical, with half the world waiting for a first shot? A bioethicist weighs in

Are COVID-19 boosters ethical, with half the world waiting for a first shot? A bioethicist weighs in

Nancy S. Jecker Professor of Bioethics and Humanities, School of Medicine, University of Washington Should countries that can afford COVID-19 booster vaccines offer them to residents if scientists recommend them? The director-general of the World Health Organization, Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, has made his position clear, calling for countries to impose a moratorium on boosters until 10% of people in every country are vaccinated. His plea comes amid mounting concerns about the slow progress getting COVID-19 vaccines to people in low-income countries. Like the WHO, some ethicists, including me, have argued that the world must stand together in solidarity to end…
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Booster COVID-19 shots should be delayed -WHO director-general

Booster COVID-19 shots should be delayed -WHO director-general

-WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said on Monday that COVID-19 booster shots should be delayed as priority should be given to raising vaccination rates in countries where only 1% or 2% of the population has been inoculated. If vaccination rates are not raised globally, stronger variants of the coronavirus could develop and vaccines intended as booster shots should be donated to countries where people have not received their first or second doses, he said during a visit to Budapest. "In addition, there is a debate about whether booster shots are effective at all," Ghebreyesus told a news conference with Hungarian Foreign Minister Peter Szijjarto. Those whose immune system is…
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WHO seeks ‘best minds’ to probe new pathogens that jump from animals to humans

WHO seeks ‘best minds’ to probe new pathogens that jump from animals to humans

GENEVA, Aug 20 (Reuters) - The World Health Organization (WHO) said on Friday it was looking for the greatest scientific minds to advise on investigations into new high-threat pathogens that jump from animals to humans and could spark the next pandemic. Launching a request for applications, it said that its Scientific Advisory Group for the Origins of Novel Pathogens would also review progress on the next studies into the origins of the SARS-CoV-2 virus that emerged in China in late 2019. "We need to bring in the best minds here. And it needs to be multi-disciplinary," Maria van Kerkhove, head…
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Young lured to tobacco addiction via e-cigarettes – WHO

Young lured to tobacco addiction via e-cigarettes – WHO

GENEVA, July 27 (Reuters) - The tobacco industry's sleek marketing is attracting youngsters to e-cigarettes which can lead to tobacco addiction, despite claims by some executives that they aim to solve the smoking epidemic, the World Health Organization (WHO) said on Tuesday. Over eight million people die annually from tobacco use and exposure to tobacco smoke, making the habit a leading cause of preventable diseases, the WHO said in a report calling for greater regulation of smoke-free devices containing nicotine. In a weekend interview with Britain's Mail on Sunday newspaper, Philip Morris International CEO Jacek Olczak was quoted as saying…
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WHO warns against mixing and matching COVID vaccines

WHO warns against mixing and matching COVID vaccines

The World Health Organization's chief scientist on Monday advised against people mixing and matching COVID-19 vaccines from different manufacturers, calling it a "dangerous trend" since there was little data available about the health impact. "It's a little bit of a dangerous trend here. We are in a data-free, evidence-free zone as far as mix and match," Soumya Swaminathan told an online briefing. "It will be a chaotic situation in countries if citizens start deciding when and who will be taking a second, a third and a fourth dose." via Reuters
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Inquiry into pandemic finds WHO should have declared global emergency earlier

Inquiry into pandemic finds WHO should have declared global emergency earlier

The International Panel for Pandemic Preparedness and Response issued its report on Wednesday into the global handling of the COVID-19 pandemic, calling for a new transparent global system to be set up for investigating disease outbreaks. The report, "COVID-19: Make it the Last Pandemic", is to be debated at the World Health Organization's annual ministerial assembly opening on May 24. The panel of independent experts led by former New Zealand Prime Minister Helen Clark and former Liberian President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf: FAILINGS 1) The World Health Organization (WHO) should have declared the new coronavirus outbreak in China an international emergency earlier instead of waiting to Jan.…
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WHO chief Tedros plans to seek re-election – Stat News

WHO chief Tedros plans to seek re-election – Stat News

(Reuters) - Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, director-general of the World Health Organization, plans to run for a second five-year term as the head of the agency, Stat News reported on Monday, citing a person familiar with the matter. Tedros, as he is widely known, has been the public face of the WHO's efforts to grapple with the COVID-19 pandemic ever since the new SARS-CoV-2 virus emerged in the central Chinese city of Wuhan in late 2019. In 2017, Ethiopia's Tedros became the first African to head the Geneva-based United Nations agency and made universal health care coverage his priority. A spokesman…
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Situation in India ‘beyond heartbreaking’ – WHO chief

Situation in India ‘beyond heartbreaking’ – WHO chief

The situation in India, where COVID-19 cases have surged, is "beyond heartbreaking", and the World Health Organization is sending extra staff and supplies there to help fight the pandemic, WHO chief Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said on Monday (April 26). "WHO is doing everything we can, providing critical equipment and supplies, including thousands of oxygen concentrators, prefabricated mobile field hospitals and laboratory supplies," Tedros told a briefing. He said he had already announced 2,600 extra WHO staff members were going to India to help support the effort to fight the disease. WHO technical lead for COVID-19 Maria Van Kerkhove said the…
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WHO says world seeing increased COVID-19 cases across all age groups

WHO says world seeing increased COVID-19 cases across all age groups

GENEVA, April 19 (Reuters) - A leading epidemiologist at the World Health Organization (WHO) said on Monday the latest rise in COVID-19 infections worldwide reflected increases among all age groups. "We are seeing increased rates of transmission across all age groups," Maria van Kerkhove told a WHO briefing, adding that last week saw 5.2 million cases reported, the highest weekly increase since the start of the pandemic. "We are seeing a slight age shift in some countries, driven by social mixing," she added. (Reporting by Mike Shields and Stephanie Nebahey Editing by Gareth Jones)
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Causal link between AstraZeneca shot and clots “plausible but not confirmed” – WHO

Causal link between AstraZeneca shot and clots “plausible but not confirmed” – WHO

GENEVA, April 7 (Reuters) - The World Health Organization's advisory vaccine safety panel said on Wednesday a causal link between the AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine and rare cases of blood clots with low platelets is "considered plausible but is not confirmed". The independent experts, in a statement issued after a review of the latest global data, said that specialised studies were needed to fully understand the potential relationship between vaccination and possible risk factors. "It is important to note that whilst concerning, the events under assessment are very rare, with low numbers reported among the almost 200 million individuals who have…
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WHO says AstraZeneca benefits outweigh risks; assessing latest data

WHO says AstraZeneca benefits outweigh risks; assessing latest data

The World Health Organization expects there will be no reason to change its assessment that the benefits of the AstraZeneca vaccine against COVID-19 outweigh any risks, a regulatory official told a news conference on Tuesday. The WHO is closely studying the latest data alongside European and other regulators, in light of reports of blood clots among people who have been vaccinated, said Rogerio Gaspar, WHO director of regulation and prequalification. He said the WHO expects to reach a fresh assessment on Wednesday or Thursday, but does not believe there will be a reason to change its advice that the benefits…
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Claims that vaccinated people are more likely to infect others have no scientific basis – WHO

Claims that vaccinated people are more likely to infect others have no scientific basis – WHO

The World Health Organization (WHO) has strongly denied claims that Covid-19 vaccines were among the factors causing the spread of new variants of the virus. These reports were being fuelled particulaly in France, alleging that vaccinated people were more likely to infect others with stronger stains of the coronavirus. The leading health body, as well as other immunologists, have insisted that such claims are not only unfounded but have no scientific basis. Speaking on Euronews, a WHO spokesperson said that "There is no evidence of this. Vaccination is part of the solution for suppressing transmission along with existing public health…
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COVID-19 probably passed from bats through another animal – WHO report

COVID-19 probably passed from bats through another animal – WHO report

 A joint WHO-China study on the origins of COVID-19 says that the virus was probably transmitted from bats to humans through another animal, and that a lab leak was "extremely unlikely" as a cause, a summary seen by Reuters said on Monday. The WHO did not immediately reply to a query seeking comment, but said the full report by the independent experts would be published on Tuesday at 1400 GMT after member states have been briefed. The findings, first reported by the Associated Press, match what WHO experts have said previously about their conclusions following a Jan-Feb visit to the…
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20 million doses of COVID-19 vaccine rolled out under COVAX: WHO chief

20 million doses of COVID-19 vaccine rolled out under COVAX: WHO chief

More than 20 million doses of COVID-19 vaccines have been provided to 20 countries under COVAX (COVID-19 Vaccine Global Access), the World Health Organization (WHO) announced on Friday. So far, the WHO-backed global vaccine sharing initiative has delivered vaccines to Ghana, Cote d'Ivoire, Angola, Cambodia, Colombia, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, the Gambia, India, Kenya, Lesotho, Malawi, Mali, Moldova, Nigeria, the Philippines, the Republic of Korea, Rwanda, Senegal, Sudan and Uganda, said WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus. "In total, COVAX has delivered more than 20 million doses of vaccine to 20 countries. In the next week, COVAX will deliver…
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“Get back to basics”- WHO Director warns European countries

“Get back to basics”- WHO Director warns European countries

The number of confirmed COVID-19 cases in Europe rose last week ending a six-week decline, the World Health Organization (WHO) warned on Thursday. More than one million new cases of the deadly virus were recorded last week across the 51 countries of WHO's European region. This represented a nine per cent rise on the previous week and "brought a promising six-week decline in new cases to an end," Dr Hans Kluge, WHO Europe's director, told reporters on Thursday. "Continued strain on our hospitals and health workers is being met with acts of medical solidarity between European neighbours. Nonetheless, over a…
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Individual vaccine arrangements undermine fair distribution, WHO head says

Individual vaccine arrangements undermine fair distribution, WHO head says

ZURICH — The World Health Organization on Thursday urged nations producing COVID-19 vaccines not to distribute them unilaterally but to donate them to the global COVAX scheme to ensure fairness. WHO director-general Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus made the plea as China hashes out agreements across Africa, Russia distributes shots in Latin America and the European Union eyes giving vaccines to poorer countries, all outside of the COVAX facility. Tedros said nations striking one-on-one deals undermine COVAX’s goal of equitable access, adding the WHO’s scheme can even accommodate requests from governments that “prefer to give their donations to certain countries, because they…
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White House to scrutinise WHO report that says COVID-19 unlikely from Chinese lab

White House to scrutinise WHO report that says COVID-19 unlikely from Chinese lab

WASHINGTON, Feb 9 (Reuters) - The Biden administration is looking forward to scrutinizing data included in a World Health Organization report released on Tuesday that said the COVID-19 virus did not originate in a laboratory in Wuhan, China, White House press secretary Jen Psaki said. The head of a WHO-led team probing the origins of COVID-19 said bats remain a likely source and that transmission of the virus via frozen food is a possibility that warrants further investigation. He ruled out a lab leak. Psaki told reporters at a press briefing on Tuesday that the administration was not involved in…
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Global COVID-19 cases surpass 102.5 mln, deaths exceed 2.22 mln

Global COVID-19 cases surpass 102.5 mln, deaths exceed 2.22 mln

The number of global COVID-19 cases exceeded 102.58 million, with over 2.22 million fatalities recorded as of Monday, according to the World Health Organization (WHO). The global case count reached 102,584,351 infections with a total of 2,222,647 deaths worldwide as of 22:26 CET on Monday, the WHO data showed. The number of newly-confirmed cases increased by 444,580 while the death toll rose by 10,885 compared to the figures from a day earlier. The global number of newly-confirmed COVID-19 cases has registered declines for the third consecutive week in a row, said WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus at a virtual press…
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WHO team in Wuhan hold “good discussions” with Chinese counterparts

WHO team in Wuhan hold “good discussions” with Chinese counterparts

WUHAN, China, Feb 1 (Reuters) - A World Health Organization-led team investigating the origins of the COVID-19 pandemic on Monday visited the Center for Disease Control and Prevention in China's central region of Hubei, where the outbreak emerged in late 2019. The group of independent experts spent about 4-1/2 hours on its longest site visit since completing two weeks of quarantine on Thursday, and did not speak to waiting journalists. But a WHO official in Geneva said that they had held "very good discussions" with their Chinese counterparts. The WHO, which has sought to manage expectations for the mission, has…
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WHO team visits Wuhan market where first COVID infections detected

WHO team visits Wuhan market where first COVID infections detected

WUHAN, China, Jan 31 (Reuters) - A World Health Organization-led team of experts investigating the origins of COVID-19 visited Huanan market on Sunday, the wholesale seafood centre in the central Chinese city of Wuhan where the new coronavirus was initially detected. The team of experts arrived at Huanan on Sunday afternoon amid a heavy security presence, with additional barricades set up outside a high blue fence surrounding the market. The WHO experts did not respond to questions thrown at them by reporters gathered at the entrance as their convoy drove into the market. The barricades came down as soon as…
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WHO experts begin meetings with Chinese scientists today

WHO experts begin meetings with Chinese scientists today

WHO experts in Wuhan began meeting with Chinese scientists today, with the group planning a number of visits to labs, markets and hospitals. The group had to first spend two weeks in quarantine at their arrival in China.“First face to face meeting with our colleagues. Correction: facemask to facemask given the medical restrictions. Discussing our visiting program,” Marion Koopmans, a virologist at Erasmus University Medical Center in the Netherlands, tweeted on Friday. “China teamleader prof Wannian joking about some technical glitches. Nice to see our colleagues after lengthy zoom meetings,” she added. The experts are scheduled to spend a couple…
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WHO issues new clinical advice on treating COVID-19 patients

WHO issues new clinical advice on treating COVID-19 patients

The World Health Organization (WHO) issued fresh clinical advice on Tuesday for treating COVID-19 patients, including those displaying persistent symptoms after recovery, and also said it advised using low-dose anti-coagulants to prevent blood clots. "The other things in the guidance that are new are that COVID-19 patients at home should have the use of pulse oximetry, that's measuring the oxygen levels, so you can identify whether somewhat at home is deteriorating and would be better off having hospital care," WHO spokeswoman Margaret Harris told a U.N. briefing in Geneva. The WHO advised clinicians to put patients into the awake prone position, on their front, shown to…
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WHO team arrives in China’s Wuhan to investigate COVID-19 origins

WHO team arrives in China’s Wuhan to investigate COVID-19 origins

WUHAN, China (Reuters) - An international team of scientists led by the World Health Organization arrived on Thursday in China's central city of Wuhan to investigate the origins of the novel coronavirus that sparked the pandemic, state television said. The team arrived late in the morning on a budget airline from Singapore and was expected to head into two weeks of quarantine. They had been set to arrive earlier this month, and China's delay of their visit drew rare public criticism from the agency's chief. The United States, which has accused China of hiding the extent of its initial outbreak…
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WHO members to meet on Wednesday on new virus variant

WHO members to meet on Wednesday on new virus variant

GENEVA (Reuters) - The World Health Organization (WHO) has called a meeting of members for Wednesday to discuss strategies to counter a new, more infectious variant of the coronavirus that has emerged in Britain. A spokeswoman said the meeting was designed to help with information-sharing. "Limiting travel to contain spread is prudent until we have better info," Hans Kluge, the WHO's Regional Director for Europe, tweeted. However, the Geneva-based body has cautioned against major alarm over the variant, saying it is a normal part of a pandemic's evolution and praising Britain for detecting it. As trucks barred from entering France…
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‘We are not afraid’: Wuhan residents say they hope WHO team finds virus origins

‘We are not afraid’: Wuhan residents say they hope WHO team finds virus origins

WUHAN, China (Reuters) - With investigators from the World Health Organization (WHO) set to visit China next year, residents of Wuhan are saying they want the team to come to the central city, hoping they could prove the virus did not originate there. An international team of investigators is expected to travel to China in January, the WHO said on Thursday, more than a year after the first identified cluster of COVID-19 infections was linked to the Huanan seafood market in Wuhan. "I welcome them to come. We also want to know how it developed, specifically where it came from,…
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14% of Covid-19 infected people are healthcare workers – WHO

14% of Covid-19 infected people are healthcare workers – WHO

Healthcare workers account for an estimated 3% of the world’s population, but account for 14% of all infections with COVID-19. WHO Secretary-General Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus revealed this during remarks at a media briefing yesterday. He also said that new data from WHO and UNICEF show that one in four health facilities globally lack basic water services. This puts health workers and patients at risk from infections of all kinds, makes childbirth much less safe, and drives antimicrobial resistance. This means that around 1.8 billion people are at heightened risk of COVID-19 and other diseases because they use or work…
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WHO, Italian authorities under scrutiny after reports of removed report revealing Covid-19 mismanagement

WHO, Italian authorities under scrutiny after reports of removed report revealing Covid-19 mismanagement

The WHO and the Italian Government has been placed under scruting after allegations of a conspiracy between the health organisation and the country's health ministry to remove a report revealing the country’s mismanagement at the beginning of the coronavirus pandemic – the publication of which was intended to prevent future deaths. Italy was the first European hotspot of the coronavirus pandemic, and the report, produced by WHO scientist Francesco Zambon and 10 colleagues across Europe, was funded by Kuwait’s government with the objective of providing information to countries yet to be hit. Called An Unprecedented Challenge: Italy’s First Response to…
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Don’t put family and friends at risk this Christmas – WHO

Don’t put family and friends at risk this Christmas – WHO

Spending time with friends and family at Christmas is “not worth putting them or yourself at risk”, according to the head of the World Health Organization. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, the body’s director general, said people should consider whether travelling during the festive period is necessary. Urging “extreme caution”, he said that “gains can easily be lost”. He insisted: “We all need to consider whose life we might be gambling with in the decisions we make. [The] Covid-19 pandemic will change the way we celebrate, but it doesn’t mean that we can’t celebrate. We still can celebrate.” He warned that “this…
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WHO sees progressive control of COVID-19 in 2021, cautions on Christmas

WHO sees progressive control of COVID-19 in 2021, cautions on Christmas

The World Health Organization's top emergency expert said on Thursday the introduction of a COVID-19 vaccine should allow the world to gain progressive control over the disease next year. "Life as we used to know it, I think that's very, very possible but we will have to continue with the hygiene, physical distancing. Vaccines do not equal zero COVID. Adding vaccines to our current measures will allow us to really crush the curve, avoid lockdowns and gain progressive control over the disease," Mike Ryan told RTE television in his native Ireland. "We need to be absolutely aware that we need…
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China gives pledge on access for COVID origins probe – WHO

China gives pledge on access for COVID origins probe – WHO

The World Health Organization (WHO) has had assurances from China that an international field trip to investigate the origins of the new coronavirus will be arranged as soon as possible, its top emergency expert said on Monday. Chinese researchers are carrying out epidemiological studies into early cases and conditions at a seafood market in the central Chinese city of Wuhan. An international team of experts has been formed to carry out phase 2 studies. But the United States, and to a lesser extent some European delegations, have raised questions about the delay and sought a timeline of the international experts' visit, diplomats…
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Europe’s reaction was incomplete – WHO

Europe’s reaction was incomplete – WHO

A World Health Organization (WHO) special COVID-19 envoy predicted a third wave of the pandemic in Europe in early 2021, if governments repeat what he said was a failure to do what was needed to prevent the second wave of infections.  "They missed building up the necessary infrastructure during the summer months, after they brought the first wave under the control," the WHO's David Nabarro said in an interview with Swiss newspapers. "Now we have the second wave. If they don't build the necessary infrastructure, we'll have a third wave early next year," said Nabarro, a Briton who campaigned unsuccessfully…
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Covid-19: WHO warns it’s ‘not too late’ to take critical action

Covid-19: WHO warns it’s ‘not too late’ to take critical action

World Health Organization Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said on Monday that a recent increase in Covid-19 cases in a number of countries in Europe and North America presented leaders with a “critical moment for action”. “This is another critical moment for action,” he said. “Another critical moment for leaders to step up. And another critical moment for people to come together for a common purpose. Seize the opportunity, it’s not too late.” Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, the WHO director-general, is currently in self-quarantine after coming into contact with someone who tested positive for COVID-19. The director-general also said that whether he is at…
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Europe needs ‘serious acceleration’ in fight against coronavirus: WHO

Europe needs ‘serious acceleration’ in fight against coronavirus: WHO

Europe needs a "serious acceleration" in the fight against the coronavirus and a lack of contact-tracing capacity could drive the disease into the darkness, a top World Health Organization official said on Monday. In Europe the picture is unrelentingly grim as a string of countries reported record increases, led by France, which posted more than 50,000 daily cases for the first time on Sunday, while the continent passed the threshold of 250,000 deaths. The vast region, comprising 46 countries at WHO, accounted for 46% of global cases and nearly one third of deaths, said Mike Ryan, the WHO's top emergencies…
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WHO warns hospitals running close to capacity across Europe

WHO warns hospitals running close to capacity across Europe

The World Health Organization (WHO) has issued a stark warning to European nations highlighting the acute situation for hospitals and intensive care units, which it said are running close to or above capacity in “too many countries”. Across Europe, the number of infections since the start of the pandemic is has now exceeded 8.2 million and more than 258,000 people have died from COVID-19. In the past few days, a number of European Governments have rushed to impose new restrictions to control the increasing rate of infections. “Too many countries are seeing an exponential increase in COVID-19 cases and that…
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EU calls for more transparency from WHO

EU calls for more transparency from WHO

The European Union wants the World Health Organization to become more transparent about how states report emerging health crises, a draft proposal on reforming the U.N. agency says, following criticism of China's initial handling of the COVID-19 pandemic. The paper, drawn up by the German government after discussions with other member states, is the latest to outline the EU's months-long plans to address the WHO's shortcomings on funding, governance and legal powers. The document, dated Oct. 19 and seen by Reuters, urges the WHO to adopt measures that would increase "transparency on national compliance" with International Health Regulations. These require WHO member states to quickly share information on health emergencies. The…
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Herd immunity is scientifically and ethically problematic – WHO

Herd immunity is scientifically and ethically problematic – WHO

The World Health Organization (WHO) has strongly denied that achieving a herd imunity would a viable option to control the spread of the coronavirus pandemic , describing this option as "scientifically and ethically problematic". With the number of infections, hospitalisations and deaths rising across Europe and much of the rest of the world, WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus made a strong case against the idea of aiming for herd immunity without vaccinations. "Herd immunity is a concept used for vaccination, in which a population can be protected from a certain virus if a threshold of vaccination is reached," he told…
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Global partnership to make available 120 million affordable, quality COVID-19 rapid tests for low- and middle-income countries

Global partnership to make available 120 million affordable, quality COVID-19 rapid tests for low- and middle-income countries

A set of agreements to make available, for low and middle-income countries, affordable, high-quality COVID-19 antigen rapid tests were today announced by the Access to COVID-19 Tools (ACT) Accelerator. Organizations involved in the milestone agreement include the Africa Centres for Disease Control and Prevention (Africa CDC), the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, the Clinton Health Access Initiative (CHAI), the Foundation for Innovative New Diagnostics (FIND), the Global Fund, Unitaid, and the World Health Organization (WHO). As part of this comprehensive, end-to-end effort, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation has executed separate volume guarantee agreements with rapid diagnostic test (RDT) producers…
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UK to increase WHO funding by 30%

UK to increase WHO funding by 30%

The U.K. will increase funding for the World Health Organization by 30 percent to £340 million over the next four years, the government said ahead of Boris Johnson’s speech at the United Nations General Assembly. The U.K. has long been one of the world’s top government donors to the WHO and this funding boost will help to retain that leadership, according to Simon Manley, director-general for COVID-19 international response at the Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office. Politico
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Russia’s Putin wants stronger WHO, proposes conference on coronavirus vaccine

Russia’s Putin wants stronger WHO, proposes conference on coronavirus vaccine

Russian President Vladimir Putin told the U.N. General Assembly on Tuesday that the World Health Organization should be strengthened to coordinate the global response to the coronavirus pandemic and proposed a high-level conference on vaccine cooperation. "We are proposing to hold an online high-level conference shortly for countries interested in cooperation in the development of anti-coronavirus vaccines," Putin said. "We are ready to share experience and continue cooperating with all states and international entities, including in supplying the Russian vaccine which has proved reliable, safe, and effective, to other countries," he said. Russia was the first country to grant regulatory approval for…
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Covid-19 vaccination: 156 countries join global scheme – WHO

Covid-19 vaccination: 156 countries join global scheme – WHO

A total of 156 countries have joined the global COVAX scheme intended to ensure fair distribution of supplies of future vaccines against COVID-19, an alliance led by the World Health Organization (WHO) said. The list includes 64 wealthier, self-financing countries, and accounts for about two-thirds of the global population, head of GAVI vaccines alliance Seth Berkley said, after a deadline of last Friday (September 18) to make binding commitments. https://twitter.com/WHO/status/1308109964142161929?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw%7Ctwcamp%5Etweetembed%7Ctwterm%5E1308109964142161929%7Ctwgr%5Eshare_3&ref_url=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.france24.com%2Fen%2F20200922-more-than-60-wealthy-countries-join-who-s-plan-for-distributing-covid-vaccine The goal of COVAX is by the end of 2021 to deliver 2 billion vaccine doses around the world, with healthcare workers prioritized initially and then the most vulnerable 20% of people in every participating country, regardless of…
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Covid-19 situation in Europe is alarming – WHO

Covid-19 situation in Europe is alarming – WHO

While worldwide coronavirus have exceeded the 30 million mark, according to official data, it is the Old Continent which is causing the biggest headaches to the World Health Organisaton. “The situation is very serious, and we are now in a reality where the number of new cases is exceeding that experienced in the first week of the pandemic, back in March”. Hans Kluge, WHO Europe Regional Director said this during an online briefing. He explaiend that half of the European countries have seen their new case count shoot up by more than 10% in the past couple of weeks with…
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Elbow bumps should be avoided too – WHO

Elbow bumps should be avoided too – WHO

No hugs, kisses, shaking of hands was the order of the day to avoid contagion as the coronavirus pandemic brought a new normal in our daily lives. In saluting each other, the elbow bump has quickly developed as an innovative solution, but now the World Health Organisation has warned that this too should preferably be avoided. The body's Director General, Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said that this gesture should be avoided not because it can directly lead to contagion but because it places two persons too close to each others. Instead, he suggests placing your hand on your heart to show…
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WHO says $700 million raised so far for COVID-19 vaccines initiative for poor

WHO says $700 million raised so far for COVID-19 vaccines initiative for poor

International donors have raised $700 million - less than half the target - to purchase future coronavirus vaccines for poor countries in a global initiative to ensure eventual vaccines do not go only to rich countries, a World Health Organization official said. The COVAX Advanced Market Commitment has an initial target of $2 billion to buy the vaccines. “Up to today, what has been mobilised so far is $700 million ... So there is a great deal of work to be done to diversify the possible sources of funding,” Matshidiso Moeti, Africa regional director for the WHO, told an online…
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UPDATED: WHO says vaccine safety top priority, as AstraZeneca pauses study

UPDATED: WHO says vaccine safety top priority, as AstraZeneca pauses study

Safety of a prospective vaccine for COVID-19 comes "first and foremost", the World Health Organization's chief scientist said on Wednesday, as a trial of a candidate from AstraZeneca was paused, at least temporarily, due to concerns over side effects. "Just because we talk about speed...it doesn't mean we start compromising or cutting corners on what would normally be assessed," Dr. Soumya Swaminathan said on a social media event. "The process still has to follow through rules of the game. For drugs and vaccines which are given to people, you have to test their safety, first and foremost." WHO officials did…
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COVID-19 can wipe out health care progress in short order: WHO

COVID-19 can wipe out health care progress in short order: WHO

More than 90% of countries have seen ordinary health services disrupted by the COVID-19 pandemic, with major gains in medical care attained over decades vulnerable to being wiped out in a short period, a World Health Organization survey showed. The Geneva-based body has frequently warned about other life-saving programs 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…
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Wearing masks not enough, says WHO

Wearing masks not enough, says WHO

A top scientist at the WHO has expressed concern over some people not maintaining physical distancing, warning that masks alone cannot protect against the spread of coronavirus. The technical head of the World Health Organization's (WHO) emergency program said that it was of utmost importance that people maintain a safe distance from others. "We are seeing that people aren't really adhering to the physical distancing anymore," said Maria Van Kerkhove at a WHO press conference. " Even if you're wearing masks, you still need to try to do the physical distancing of at least 1 meter (6 feet) and even…
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172 countries and multiple candidate vaccines engaged in COVID-19 vaccine Global Access Facility

172 countries and multiple candidate vaccines engaged in COVID-19 vaccine Global Access Facility

172 economies are now engaged in discussions to potentially participate in COVAX, a global initiative aimed at working with vaccine manufacturers to provide countries worldwide equitable access to safe and effective vaccines, once they are licensed and approved. COVAX currently has the world’s largest and most diverse COVID-19 vaccine portfolio - including nine candidate vaccines, with a further nine under evaluation and conversations underway with other mayor producers. COVAX, the vaccines pillar of the Access to COVID-19 Tools (ACT) Accelerator, is co-led by the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations (CEPI), Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance, and the World Health Organization (WHO)…
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WHO calls for end of vaccine nationalism

WHO calls for end of vaccine nationalism

Countries putting their own interests ahead of others in trying to ensure supplies of a possible coronavirus vaccine are making the pandemic worse, World Health Organization chief Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said on Tuesday. "(Acting) strategically and globally is actually in each country's national interest - no one is safe until everyone is safe," he told a virtual briefing calling for an end to "vaccine nationalism". He said he had sent a letter to all WHO members asking them to join the multilateral COVAX vaccine effort. More than 21.9 million people have been reported to be infected by the novel coronavirus…
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Asymptomatic people in 20s, 30s and 40s driving spread of Coronavirus – WHO

Asymptomatic people in 20s, 30s and 40s driving spread of Coronavirus – WHO

The spread of the coronavirus is being increasingly driven by people aged in their 20s, 30s and 40s and many are not aware that they have been infected, the World Health Organisation’s regional director for the Western Pacific said on Tuesday.  “This increases the risk of spillovers to the more vulnerable: the elderly, the sick people in long-term care, people who live in densely populated areas and underserved areas,” Takeshi Kasai told a virtual briefing. The epidemic is changing," WHO Western Pacific regional director, Takeshi Kasai, told a virtual briefing. "People in their 20s, 30s and 40s are increasingly driving the spread.…
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Coronavirus cases pass 20m but WHO sees “green shoots of hope”

Coronavirus cases pass 20m but WHO sees “green shoots of hope”

Worldwide Covid-19 infections have passed 20 million, just a few days before the fifth month since the World Health Organisation declared a global pandemic. Recalling this grim milestone, the WHO insisted that while all energy and resources must be directed at defeating this virus, despair should not feature, saying if the virus could be suppressed effectively, “we can safely open up societies”. Global cases reached one million at the start of April. By 22 May, there were 5 million cases. That figure had doubled to 10 million cases by the end of June, and, seven weeks later, it had doubled…
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France and. Germany quit WHO reforms talks as tensions with US rise

France and. Germany quit WHO reforms talks as tensions with US rise

France and Germany have quit talks on reforming the World Health Organization in frustration at attempts by the United States to lead the negotiations, despite its decision to leave the WHO, three officials told Reuters. The move is a setback for President Donald Trump as Washington, which holds the rotating chair of the G7, had hoped to issue a common roadmap for a sweeping overhaul of the WHO in September, two months before the U.S. presidential election.  The United States gave the WHO a year’s notice in July that it is leaving the U.N. agency - which was created to…
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WHO says COVID-19 pandemic is ‘one big wave’, not seasonal

WHO says COVID-19 pandemic is ‘one big wave’, not seasonal

The World Health Organization on Tuesday warned against complacency about new coronavirus transmission in the northern hemisphere summer, saying that this virus did not behave like influenza that tended to follow seasonal trends. "People are still thinking about seasons. What we all need to get our heads around is this is a new virus and...this one is behaving differently," Margaret Harris told a virtual briefing in Geneva, urging vigilance in applying measures to slow transmission that is spreading via mass gatherings. She also warned against thinking in terms of virus waves, saying: "It's going to be one big wave. It's going to go up…
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