WHO / CORONAVIRUS UPDATE

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10-Feb-2020 00:04:06
The head of the UN health agency (WHO) Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said today that Governments should continue to treat containment of the coronavirus as a priority. WHO

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STORY: WHO / CORONAVIRUS UPDATE
TRT:4:06
SOURCE: WHO
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LANGUAGE: ENGLISH / NATS

DATELINE: 10 FEBRUARY 2020, GENEVA, SWITZERLAND

SHOTLIST:

1.Various shots, press briefing room
2.SOUNDBITE (English) Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, Director-General, World Health Organization (WHO):
“The detection of this small number of cases could be the spark that becomes a bigger fire, but for now, it's only a spark. Our objective remains containment. We call on all countries to use the window of opportunity we have to prevent a bigger fire. As part of those preparations, WHO is working to equip laboratories with the capacity to rapidly diagnose cases.”
3.Close up, reporter
4.SOUNDBITE (English) Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, Director-General, World Health Organization (WHO):
“Let's focus on this common enemy against humanity. It attacks any human being, and that's how we should see the threat, as one humanity against a virus, which we don't know very well. And we need to answer the questions in order to fight it better.”
5.Med shot, reporters
6.SOUNDBITE (English) Dr Michael J RYAN, Executive Director, WHO Health Emergencies Programme:
“This is not a voyage into the dark. This is going to reconnect with scientists that we're already working with on a day to day basis, over many, many years. So this is about increasing the levels of cooperation, not establishing cooperation.”
7.Med shot, reporters
8.SOUNDBITE (English) Dr Michael J RYAN, Executive Director, WHO Health Emergencies Programme:
“The team is there, first and foremost to learn and to understand, not only the investigations that have been carried out so far in China, but also to understand the nature of what has been one of the largest public health responses in history in China. So we both learn more about the virus, to learn more about the investigations that have been carried out by, by Chinese scientists and epidemiologists, to understand the nature of the public health response, which reaches right from the lowest level in the community, right the way through the system to the top.”
9.Various shots reporters
10.SOUNDBITE (English) Dr Michael J RYAN, Executive Director, WHO Health Emergencies Programme:
“So I think we need to take a risk management approach, except there's no zero risk and do our best to ensure that we ensure the safety of people attending all gatherings around the world.”
11. Close up, reporters
12. SOUNDBITE (English) Dr Michael J RYAN, Executive Director, WHO Health Emergencies Programme:
“Imagine this disease establishing itself within a weaker health system. Without those capacities, without those capabilities.”
13.Close up, reporters
14. SOUNDBITE (English) Dr Michael J RYAN, Executive Director, WHO Health Emergencies Programme:
“This disease may appear relatively mild in the context of a sophisticated health system, that may not be the case should this disease reach a system that is not as capable as that of China.”
15. Close up, reporter
16. SOUNDBITE (English) Dr Sylvie Briand, Director, Global Infectious Hazard Preparedness, WHO:
“And I think also what is very important is to talk about super-spreading event and not people, because it's not the person. It's really the circumstances and the situation that makes the transmission increase and not the people themselves, so that we avoid also some stigmatization that is really unnecessary.”
17. Various shots, reporters

STORYLINE:


The head of the UN health agency (WHO) Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said today that Governments should continue to treat containment of the coronavirus as a priority.

After earlier describing cases of infection in people with no travel history to China as possibly the “tip of the iceberg”, the World Health Organization Director-General today (10 Feb) warned in Geneva that while the spread of the respiratory disease appeared to be slow, it could accelerate.

Dr Tedros said, “the detection of this small number of cases could be the spark that becomes a bigger fire, but for now it’s only a spark. Our objective remains containment, we call on all countries to use the window of opportunity that we have to prevent a bigger fire.”

As of Monday, WHO reported 40,235 confirmed cases in China, where the virus was declared on 31 December - and 909 deaths.

Outside the country there have been 319 cases in 24 countries and one death, with reported infections in France and the United Kingdom in the past two days.

The overall pattern of infections had not changed, Tedros told journalists.

Ninety-nine per cent of all cases were in China and most sufferers displayed mild symptoms, while two per cent were fatal, he explained.

Dr Tedros also said, “let's focus on this common enemy against humanity. It attacks any human being, and that's how we should see the threat, as one humanity against a virus, which we don't know very well. And we need to answer the questions in order to fight it better.”

Dr Michael J RYAN, Executive Director of WHO Health Emergencies Programme said, “this is not a voyage into the dark. This is going to reconnect with scientists that we're already working with on a day to day basis, over many, many years. So this is about increasing the levels of cooperation, not establishing cooperation.”

He added, “the team is there, first and foremost to learn and to understand, not only the investigations that have been carried out so far in China, but also to understand the nature of what has been one of the largest public health responses in history in China. So we both learn more about the virus, to learn more about the investigations that have been carried out by, by Chinese scientists and epidemiologists, to understand the nature of the public health response, which reaches right from the lowest level in the community, right the way through the system to the top.”

He also said, “I think we need to take a risk management approach, except there's no zero risk and do our best to ensure that we ensure the safety of people attending all gatherings around the world.”

He continued, “imagine this disease establishing itself within a weaker health system. Without those capacities, without those capabilities,” adding that “this disease may appear relatively mild in the context of a sophisticated health system, that may not be the case should this disease reach a system that is not as capable as that of China.”

Dr Sylvie Briand, Director of Global Infectious Hazard Preparedness at WHO told reporters, “what is very important is to talk about super-spreading event and not people, because it's not the person.”

She added, “it's really the circumstances and the situation that makes the transmission increase and not the people themselves, so that we avoid also some stigmatization that is really unnecessary.”

According to WHO, WHO is working to equip laboratories with the capacity to rapidly diagnose cases. Without vital diagnostic capacity, countries are in the dark as to how far and wide the virus has spread – and who has coronavirus or another disease with similar symptoms.

WHO has now identified 168 labs around the world with the right technology to diagnose coronavirus. The Organization sent kits to Cameroon, Cote d’Ivoire, DRC, Egypt, Ethiopia, Gabon, Ghana, Iran, Kenya, Morocco, Nigeria, Tunisia, Uganda and Zambia. Many of those countries have already started using them.

Another shipment of 150,000 tests is being assembled in Berlin today, and it is destined for more than 80 labs in all regions.

Last week the African CDC conducted training in Senegal with 12 countries, using tests sent by WHO. Further training will take place in South Africa next week.

WHO will continue working with all countries to prevent and detect rapidly new cases of coronavirus, and to save lives.
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