WHO / COVID-19 UPDATE

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18-Jun-2021 00:03:46
WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said the “two-track pandemic” is now taking its toll on some of the world’s poorest and most vulnerable people and stressed that "vaccines donated next year will be far too late for those who are dying today, or being infected today, or at risk today.” WHO

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STORY: WHO / COVID-19 UPDATE
TRT: 3:46
SOURCE: UNIFEED
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LANGUAGE: ENGLISH / NATS

DATELINE: 18 JUNE 2021, GENEVA, SWITZERLAND

SHOTLIST:

FILE – GENEVA, SWITZERLAND

1. Aerial shot, WHO headquarters exterior

18 JUNE 2021, GENEVA, SWITZERLAND

2. Wide shot, press room
3. SOUNDBITE (English) Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, Director-General., World Health Organization (WHO):
"Even after 18 months, the ineffective use of public health and social measures, increased social mixing and vaccine inequity continue to give COVID-19 an opportunity to mutate, spread and kill. The global failure to share vaccines equitably is fuelling a two-track pandemic that is now taking its toll on some of the world’s poorest and most vulnerable people. Every region has countries that are now facing a steep increase in cases and deaths."
4. Wide shot, WHO officials at dais
5. SOUNDBITE (English) Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, Director-General., World Health Organization (WHO):
"Many countries in Latin America have rapidly increasing epidemics, and others have plateaued at a high level. In Africa, cases have increased by 52 percent just in the past week, and deaths have increased by 32 percent. And we expect things to only get worse. Less than one percent of Africa’s population has been vaccinated."
6. Wide shot, WHO officials at dais
7. SOUNDBITE (English) Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, Director-General., World Health Organization (WHO):
"Vaccines donated next year will be far too late for those who are dying today, or being infected today, or at risk today. Our global targets are to vaccinate at least ten percent of the population of every country by September, at least 40 percent by the end of the year, and 70 percent by the middle of next year. These are the critical milestones we must reach together to end the pandemic."
8. Wide shot, WHO officials at dais
9. SOUNDBITE (English) Dr Mike Ryan Executive Director, Health Emergencies Programme, World Health Programme (WHO):
"But the brutal reality is that in an era of multiple variants with increased transmissibility, potentially increased impact, we have left vast swathes of the population and the vulnerable population in Africa unprotected by vaccines; in a context where health systems are already weak. That's the reality and this is the consequence of the current unfair distribution of vaccines. If we had been distributing vaccines fairly and equitably, we may by now have protected those people most vulnerable on the African continent; and we simply have not done that."
10. Wide shot, WHO officials at dais
11. SOUNDBITE (English) Dr Mike Ryan Executive Director, Health Emergencies Programme, World Health Programme (WHO):
"So, how the virus epidemic manifests itself on each wave has been different in every country. So, to assume that the next wave in Africa is just going to be a small passing shower and will not be a storm, I think is very, very premature. And I think we have to really take what's happening on the African continent very, very seriously."
12. Wide shot, WHO officials at dais
13. SOUNDBITE (English) Dr Maria Van Kerkhove, COVID-19 Technical lead, Health Emergencies Programme, World Health Programme (WHO):
"But I have to come in on the public health and social measures. We have an amazing tool in vaccines and vaccinations, but we also have amazing tools in terms of individual level measures, in terms of societal level measures that can be tailored, that can be adjusted, that could be used intelligently. I'm not talking about lockdown. I'm talking about the use of a mask. I'm talking about physical distancing. I'm talking about improving ventilation. I'm talking about avoiding crowded spaces, making our workplaces safer, knowing what our risk is every day, and taking measures to lower that risk. That has to receive the same amount of attention right now as vaccines and vaccination."
14. Close up, WHO emblem on wall in press room

STORYLINE:

WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said the “two-track pandemic” is now taking its toll on some of the world’s poorest and most vulnerable people and stressed that "vaccines donated next year will be far too late for those who are dying today, or being infected today, or at risk today.”

At a press conference in Geneva today (18 Jun), Dr Tedros said even after 18 months, “the ineffective use of public health and social measures, increased social mixing and vaccine inequity continue to give COVID-19 an opportunity to mutate, spread and kill.” He noted that the global “failure to share vaccines equitably is fuelling a two-track pandemic that is now taking its toll on some of the world’s poorest and most vulnerable people,” adding that every region has countries that are now facing a steep increase in cases and deaths.

The WHO chief said many countries in Latin America have rapidly increasing epidemics, and others have plateaued at a high level. In Africa, cases have increased by 52 percent just in the past week, and deaths have increased by 32 percent, Dr Tedros said, while expecting things to only get worse. He added that less than one percent of Africa’s population has been vaccinated.

Dr Tedros told reporters that WHO’s global targets are to vaccinate at least ten percent of the population of every country by September, at least 40 percent by the end of the year, and 70 percent by the middle of next year. He said, “These are the critical milestones we must reach together to end the pandemic."

Dr Mike Ryan, Executive Director of WHO’s Health Emergencies Programme, said the “brutal reality” is that in an era of multiple variants with increased transmissibility, potentially increased impact, “we have left vast swathes of the population and the vulnerable population in Africa unprotected by vaccines; in a context where health systems are already weak.” He said this was the consequence of the current unfair distribution of vaccines adding that if vaccines were distributed fairly and equitably, “we may by now have protected those people most vulnerable on the African continent; and we simply have not done that."

Dr Ryan said to assume that the next wave in Africa is just going to be a “small passing shower and will not be a storm, I think is very, very premature. And I think we have to really take what's happening on the African continent very, very seriously."

WHO’s COVID-19 Technical lead Dr Maria Van Kerkhove, while vaccination is an amazing tool, “we also have amazing tools in terms of individual level measures, in terms of societal level measures that can be tailored, that can be adjusted, that could be used intelligently.”

She added, “I'm not talking about lockdown. I'm talking about the use of a mask. I'm talking about physical distancing. I'm talking about improving ventilation. I'm talking about avoiding crowded spaces, making our workplaces safer, knowing what our risk is every day, and taking measures to lower that risk. That has to receive the same amount of attention right now as vaccines and vaccination."
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