WHO / COVID-19 UPDATE

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25-Jun-2021 00:05:29
World Health Organization (WHO) Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus expressed concern about the COVID-19 Delta variant, “the most transmissible of the variants identified so far,” which “has been identified in at least 85 countries and is spreading rapidly among unvaccinated populations.” WHO

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STORY: WHO / COVID-19 UPDATE
TRT: 05:29
SOURCE: WHO
RESTRICTIONS: NONE
LANGUAGE: ENGLISH / NATS

DATELINE: 25 JUNE 2021, GENEVA, SWITZERLAND / FILE

SHOTLIST:

1. Wide shot, press briefing room
2. SOUNDBITE (English) Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, Director-General, World Health Organization (WHO):
"I know that globally there is currently a lot of concern about the Delta variant, and WHO is concerned about it too. Delta is the most transmissible of the variants identified so far, has been identified in at least 85 countries, and is spreading rapidly among unvaccinated populations. As some countries ease public health and social measures, we are starting to see increases in transmission around the world. More cases means more hospitalizations, further stretching health workers and health systems, which increases the risk of death."
3. Wide shot, press briefing room
4. SOUNDBITE (English) Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, Director-General, World Health Organization (WHO):
"As we have said, new variants are expected and will continue to be reported – that’s what viruses do, they evolve - but we can prevent the emergence of variants by preventing transmission. It’s quite simple: more transmission, more variants. Less transmission, less variants. That makes it even more urgent that we use all the tools at our disposal to prevent transmission: the tailored and consistent use of public health and social measures, in combination with equitable vaccination. This is why WHO has been saying for at least a year that vaccines must be distributed equitably, to protect health workers and the most vulnerable."
5. Wide shot, press briefing room
6. SOUNDBITE (English) Dr Mike Ryan, Executive Director, Health Emergencies Programme, World Health Programme (WHO):
"The difficulty in this regard is that right now, any imposition of such a requirement for vaccination around the world does, in effect, deliver a double inequality as individuals from countries who have no access to vaccine, will then have no access to travel. And therefore, it is very important that if we're going to impose restrictions on the travel of individuals, we must at least attempt to do that from a level playing field of having access to vaccine."
7. Wide shot, press briefing room
8. SOUNDBITE (English) Bruce Aylward, Senior Advisor to the Director-General, World Health Programme (WHO) and Head, ACT-Accelerator Coordination Hub:
"The biggest problem these countries face and I have to say, I get a little bit frustrated with the big focus on the delivery challenge countries will have because we have a supply challenge. We have through COVAX this month zero doses of AstraZeneca vaccine, zero doses of SII vaccine, zero doses of J&J vaccine. And I'm worried about supply. You know, there's a theory of constraints, you deal with them in the order in which you face them, and countries do not have products."
9. Wide shot, press briefing room
10. SOUNDBITE (English) Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, Director-General, World Health Organization (WHO):
"What I would like to assure those who are prepared to give vaccines is, we have done our homework with the World Bank, assessing countries, identifying the gaps, helping them with filling the gaps. But at the same time, they have experience of using or implementing mass campaigns for several years. So, they have the experience, but we also try to work with them to see if there is any gap. So, the problem now is supply problem. Just give us the vaccines."
11. Wide shot, press briefing room
12. SOUNDBITE (English) Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, Director-General, World Health Organization (WHO):
“The whole world is sick and tired of lockdowns. You can see it from how the citizens of the high-income countries are behaving now. They are so happy it's opened up. Restaurants are full. The streets are full. Everywhere you go, you see crowds as if there is no pandemic. Then you go to countries where there is no vaccine access, still lockdowns. And the whole world is sick and tired and the whole world wants to be opened up and the tools are in our hands to open it up."
13. Wide shot, press briefing room
14. SOUNDBITE (English) Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, Director-General, World Health Organization (WHO):
"On Wednesday, a market outside the city of Mekelle in the Tigray region of Ethiopia was bombed, killing and wounding civilians. Ambulances were blocked for more than a day from attending the scene and evacuating the wounded for medical care. WHO is currently providing life-saving trauma and surgical supplies to a hospital that is treating survivors who were able to reach care. Attacks on civilians anywhere are completely unacceptable, and so is denying them access to immediate care."
15. Wide shot, press briefing room

STORYLINE:

World Health Organization (WHO) Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus today (25 Jun) expressed concern about the COVID-19 Delta variant, “the most transmissible of the variants identified so far,” which “has been identified in at least 85 countries and is spreading rapidly among unvaccinated populations.”

During WHO’s regular briefing, Tedros said, “as some countries ease public health and social measures, we are starting to see increases in transmission around the world. More cases means more hospitalizations, further stretching health workers and health systems, which increases the risk of death."

He said, “new variants are expected and will continue to be reported – that’s what viruses do, they evolve - but we can prevent the emergence of variants by preventing transmission. It’s quite simple: more transmission, more variants. Less transmission, less variants. That makes it even more urgent that we use all the tools at our disposal to prevent transmission: the tailored and consistent use of public health and social measures, in combination with equitable vaccination. This is why WHO has been saying for at least a year that vaccines must be distributed equitably, to protect health workers and the most vulnerable."

Responding to a question on vaccine passports for permitted travel, the Head of WHO’s Health Emergencies Programme, Mike Ryan, said, "the difficulty in this regard is that right now, any imposition of such a requirement for vaccination around the world does, in effect, deliver a double inequality as individuals from countries who have no access to vaccine, will then have no access to travel. And therefore, it is very important that if we're going to impose restrictions on the travel of individuals, we must at least attempt to do that from a level playing field of having access to vaccine."

Responding to a question on the roll-out of COVID-19 vaccines in low-income countries, Senior Advisor to the Director-General and Head of the ACT-Accelerator Coordination Hub, Dr Bruce Aylward, said, "the biggest problem these countries face, and I have to say, I get a little bit frustrated with the big focus on the delivery challenge countries will have because we have a supply challenge. We have through COVAX this month zero doses of AstraZeneca vaccine, zero doses of SII vaccine, zero doses of J&J vaccine. And I'm worried about supply. You know, there's a theory of constraints, you deal with them in the order in which you face them, and countries do not have products."

Tedros said, “we have done our homework with the World Bank, assessing countries, identifying the gaps, helping them with filling the gaps,” but “the problem now is supply problem. Just give us the vaccines."

He said, tThe whole world is sick and tired of lockdowns. You can see it from how the citizens of the high-income countries are behaving now. They are so happy it's opened up. Restaurants are full. The streets are full. Everywhere you go, you see crowds as if there is no pandemic. Then you go to countries where there is no vaccine access, still lockdowns. And the whole world is sick and tired and the whole world wants to be opened up and the tools are in our hands to open it up."

Talking about his own country, Ethiopia, Tedros said, "on Wednesday, a market outside the city of Mekelle in the Tigray region of Ethiopia was bombed, killing and wounding civilians. Ambulances were blocked for more than a day from attending the scene and evacuating the wounded for medical care. WHO is currently providing life-saving trauma and surgical supplies to a hospital that is treating survivors who were able to reach care. Attacks on civilians anywhere are completely unacceptable, and so is denying them access to immediate care."
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