WHO COVID-19 UPDATE

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12-Apr-2021 00:04:16
WHO Director-General Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said the COVID-19 pandemic is “a long way from over,” but stressed that with a “concerted effort to apply public health measures alongside equitable vaccination, we could bring this pandemic under control in a matter of months.” WHO

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STORY: WHO / COVID-19 UPDATE
TRT: 4:16
SOURCE: WHO
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LANGUAGE: ENGLISH / NATS

DATELINE: 12 APRIL 2021, GENEVA, SWITZERLAND

SHOTLIST:

FILE - GENEVA, SWITZERLAND

1. Wide shot, WHO emblem outside headquarters

12 APRIL 2021, GENEVA, SWITZERLAND

2. Wide shot, WHO officials at press conference
3. SOUNDBITE (English) Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, Director-General, World Health Organization (WHO):
“In January and February, the world saw six consecutive weeks of declining cases. We have now seen seven consecutive weeks of increasing cases, and four weeks of increasing deaths. Last week was the fourth-highest number of cases in a single week so far.”
4. Wide shot, WHO officials at press conference
5. SOUNDBITE (English) Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, Director-General, World Health Organization (WHO):
“Make no mistake, vaccines are a vital and powerful tool. But they are not the only tool. We say this day after day, week after week. And we will keep saying it. Physical distancing works. Masks work. Hand hygiene works. Ventilation works. Surveillance, testing, contact tracing, isolation, supportive quarantine and compassionate care – they all work to stop infections and save lives.”
6. Wide shot, WHO officials at press conference
7. SOUNDBITE (English) Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, Director-General, World Health Organization (WHO):
“Right now, intensive care units in many countries are overflowing and people are dying – and it’s totally avoidable. In some countries, despite continuing transmission, restaurants and night clubs are full, markets are open and crowded with few people taking precautions. Some people appear to be taking the approach that if they are relatively young, it doesn’t matter if they get COVID-19. This disease is not flu. Young, healthy people have died. And we still don’t fully understand the long-term consequences of infection for those who survive.”
8. Wide shot, WHO officials at press conference
9. SOUNDBITE (English) Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, Director-General, World Health Organization (WHO):
“This pandemic is a long way from over. But we have many reasons for optimism. The decline in cases and deaths during the first two months of the year shows that this virus and its variants can be stopped. With a concerted effort to apply public health measures alongside equitable vaccination, we could bring this pandemic under control in a matter of months.”
10. Wide shot, WHO officials at press conference
11. SOUNDBITE (English) Dr Kate O'Brien, Director, Department of Immunizations, Vaccines and Biologicals, World Health Organization (WHO):
“When in addition to scaling up immunity through vaccination, we reduce transmission, which also reduces the likelihood of having emergence of variants that could escape from vaccine induced immunity. So, this is just, again, a reinforcement that we have so much hope and desire to get on with more regular life as people become vaccinated. But it's actually the opposite. It's the very time when we should be as diligent as ever.”
12. Wide shot, WHO officials at press conference
13. SOUNDBITE (English) Dr Kate O'Brien, Director, Department of Immunizations, Vaccines and Biologicals, World Health Organization (WHO):
“There are no data at this point on any mix and match regimens (for vaccines), although certainly there probably are individuals around the world who have had a different product for their second dose than the product that they had as their first dose. We really welcome studies that would look at mix and match regimens, because clearly from a supply perspective and also from a programmatic perspective, where many countries have more than one and some countries up to three, four or five products in the country, would be very valuable to have these kinds of data to inform how best to use the vaccines.”
14. Wide shot, WHO officials at press conference

STORYLINE:

WHO Director-General Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said the COVID-19 pandemic is “a long way from over,” but stressed that with a “concerted effort to apply public health measures alongside equitable vaccination, we could bring this pandemic under control in a matter of months.”

Speaking at a press conference in Geneva today (12 Apr), Dr Tedros said January and February witness six consecutive weeks of declining cases, but the world has since seen seven consecutive weeks of increasing cases, and four weeks of increasing deaths, with last week being the “fourth-highest number of cases in a single week so far."

The WHO chief said, “Make no mistake, vaccines are a vital and powerful tool. But they are not the only tool. We say this day after day, week after week. And we will keep saying it. Physical distancing works. Masks work. Hand hygiene works. Ventilation works. Surveillance, testing, contact tracing, isolation, supportive quarantine and compassionate care – they all work to stop infections and save lives.”

Dr Tedros warned that intensive care units in many countries are “overflowing and people are dying – and it’s totally avoidable.” He explained that, in some countries, despite continuing transmission, “restaurants and night clubs are full, markets are open and crowded with few people taking precautions.” He added, “Some people appear to be taking the approach that if they are relatively young, it doesn’t matter if they get COVID-19. This disease is not flu. Young, healthy people have died. And we still don’t fully understand the long-term consequences of infection for those who survive.”

The Director-General noted however that the decline in the first two months of the year “shows that this virus and its variants can be stopped,” adding that there are “many reasons for optimism.”

Dr Kate O'Brien, Director of WHO’s Department of Immunizations, Vaccines and Biologicals, said reducing transmission alongside scaling up immunity through vaccination “reduces the likelihood of having emergence of variants that could escape from vaccine induced immunity.” She added that, while people have a desire to get on with more regular life as people become vaccinated, this is the “very time when we should be as diligent as ever.”

Dr O'Brien said there was no data at this point on any “mix and match regimens” for vaccines, although “certainly there probably are individuals around the world who have had a different product for their second dose than the product that they had as their first dose.” She welcomed studies that would look into such regimens, because “clearly from a supply perspective and also from a programmatic perspective, where many countries have more than one and some countries up to three, four or five products in the country, would be very valuable to have these kinds of data to inform how best to use the vaccines.”
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