GENEVA / COVID-19 OMICRON

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30-Nov-2021 00:02:45
As scientists race to understand how virulent and transmissible the new Omicron COVID-19 variant is, the UN World Health Organization (WHO) once again urged caution on Tuesday, with a reminder of the available precautions that should be used to stop the virus from spreading further. UNTV CH

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STORY: GENEVA / COVID-19 OMICRON
TRT: 2:45
SOURCE: UNTV CH
RESTRICTIONS: NONE
LANGUAGE: ENGLISH / NATS

DATELINE: 30 NOVEMBER 2021, GENEVA, SWITZERLAND

SHOTLIST:

30 NOVEMBER 2021, GENEVA, SWITZERLAND

1. Wide shot, Palais des Nations exterior
2. Wide shot, speakers, participants and videographer in briefing room
3. SOUNDBITE (English) Christian Lindmeier, spokesperson, World Health Organization (WHO):
“There might be a higher transmissibility according to initial reports, and there might be immune escape but, hence, we are deeply looking into it. You are fully right on the first sentence. We still need a couple of weeks to get the details together and to know exactly what we are dealing with.”
4. Med shot, journalists taking notes, TV screen in background
5. SOUNDBITE (English) Christian Lindmeier, spokesperson, World Health Organization (WHO):
“As we don’t have any full picture of this variant. As long as we don’t know how well or not well the vaccines, the existing vaccines are working out, how the treatment is catching up, how transmissible it is, how severely it attacks people. We need to use the measures that we know and we need to use the measures that we know that work. And that is what Rheal showed you in the picture. The mask-wearing whenever possible and advisable as long as you are in a room with more than one person, ventilating a room if possible, as often as possible, keeping the normal hand and body hygiene and especially mouth hygiene in those circumstances. So, we know these measures work.”
6. Med shot, journalist attending briefing
7. SOUNDBITE (English) Christian Lindmeier, spokesperson, World Health Organization (WHO):
“Omicron is not the only variant out there. It’s now high on the agenda of interest because it jumped up. Let’s not forget there is Delta out there and there is a COVID–19 pandemic even without the Omicron variant and all these measures work.”
8. Med shot, participants taking notes
9. SOUNDBITE (English) Christian Lindmeier, spokesperson, World Health Organization (WHO):
“High vaccination rates in the population work we know that. The emergency rooms and centres are full of people with the most percentage: the unvaccinated. The most severe diseases and the most severe outcomes until death is most often in those unvaccinated and that is of high importance. Don’t forget that.”
10. Med shot, journalist at briefing
11. SOUNDBITE (English) Christian Lindmeier, spokesperson, World Health Organization (WHO):
“Life-saving operations or interventions with people of non-COVID nature, cancer treatments is being postponed for months for people who urgently need them because of full emergency wards and hospitals. So, let's not forget that, and let's use all the measures we have right now until we know more.”
12. Various shots, journalists taking notes
13. Med shot, technician supervising briefing on Zoom

STORYLINE:

As scientists race to understand how virulent and transmissible the new Omicron COVID-19 variant is, the UN World Health Organization (WHO) once again urged caution on Tuesday, with a reminder of the available precautions that should be used to stop the virus from spreading further.

“As we don't have any full picture of this variant, as long as we don't know how well the existing vaccines are working…we need to use the measures that we know work,” said Christian Lindmeier, WHO spokesperson, during a scheduled briefing in Geneva TODAY (30 Nov).

These measures include “mask-wearing whenever possible and advisable as long as you are not in a room with more than one person, ventilating a room if possible, as often as possible, keeping the normal hand and body hygiene...We know these measures work.”

The WHO’s message comes as reports indicated potential concern among one pharmaceutical manufacturer that existing vaccines may not be as effective against the new variant as previous iterations, such as the Delta variant.

Lindmeier said that more time was needed to reach a conclusion on the Omicron variant. “There might be higher transmissibility, according to initial reports,” he said, “hence we're deeply looking. We still need a couple of weeks to get the details together and to know exactly what we're dealing with.”

On Monday, WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus addressed a special three-day meeting of the organization's governing body in Geneva, warning that the world shouldn’t need another wake-up call about the dangers of COVID-19 before deciding to act to prevent further pandemics.

Reinforcing Dr Tedros’s message, Lindmeier pointed out that “Omicron is not the only variant out there, it's now high on the agenda of interest. Let's not forget there is Delta out there. There is a COVID-19 pandemic, even without the Omicron variant.”

Despite concerns that existing vaccines may not be as effective against Omicron, the WHO spokesperson reiterated that a “high vaccination rate in the population works, we know that. The emergency rooms...are full of people with the most percentage unvaccinated. The most severe diseases and the most severe outcome until death is most often in those unvaccinated, and that's of high importance.”

Lindmeier also stressed that it should not be forgotten that life-saving operations “are being postponed for months for people who urgently need them because of full emergency wards and hospitals. Let's use all the measures we have right now until we know more.”
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