WHO / COVID-19 UPDATE

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13-Apr-2022 00:04:51
The lowest number of COVID-19 deaths since the early days of the pandemic was recorded last week, but “far from being the time to drop our guard, this is the moment to work even harder to save lives,” WHO Director-General Tedros Ghebreyesus said. WHO

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STORY: WHO / HEALTH EMERGENCIES
TRT: 4:51
SOURCE: WHO
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LANGUAGE: ENGLISH / NATS

DATELINE: 13 APRIL 2022, GENEVA, SWITZERLAND

SHOTLIST:

FILE – GENEVA, SWITZERLAND

1. Wide shot, WHO headquarters, exterior

13 APRIL 2022, GENEVA, SWITZERLAND

2. Wide shot, press briefing room
3. SOUNDBITE (English) Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, Director-General, World Health Organization (WHO):
"On COVID-19, there’s good news. Last week, the lowest number of COVID-19 deaths was recorded since the early days of the pandemic. However, some countries are still witnessing serious spikes in cases, which is putting pressure on hospitals. And our ability to monitor trends is compromised as testing has significantly reduced."
4. Wide shot, press briefing room
5. SOUNDBITE (English) Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, Director-General, World Health Organization (WHO):
"This week, the COVID-19 IHR Emergency Committee met and unanimously agreed that the pandemic remains a public health emergency. I appreciated their advice and agree that far from being the time to drop our guard, this is the moment to work even harder to save lives."
6. Wide shot, press briefing room
7. SOUNDBITE (English) Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, Director-General, World Health Organization (WHO):
"WHO scientists continue to work with thousands of experts around the world to track and monitor the SARS-CoV-2 virus. At present, there are a number of Omicron sub-lineages we’re following closely, including BA.2, BA.4, and BA.5, and another recombinant detected, made up of BA.1 and BA.2. This virus has, over time, become more transmissible, and it remains deadly, especially for the unprotected and unvaccinated that don’t have access to health care and antivirals. The best way to protect yourself is to get vaccinated and boosted when recommended."
8. Wide shot, press briefing room
9. SOUNDBITE (French) Didier Houssin, Chair, International Health Regulations Emergency Committee:
"As you know, over the last few weeks, the Emergency Committee began to reflect on what could be the criteria for announcing the end of Public Health Emergency of International Concern (PHEIC) linked to COVID-19. Unfortunately, the reality is there, and as Dr. Tedros has said, the situation is far from being over regarding the COVID-19 pandemic. The circulation of the virus is very active, mortality remains high, and the virus is evolving in an unpredictable manner. So, the day before yesterday, the Committee's decision was unanimous: It is not yet the time to let our guard down. On the contrary. And this is a very strong recommendation from the Committee. Member States should use 2022 WHO (Strategic Preparedness and Response) Plan published recently to reinforce preparedness and response, they should use this plan to, without delay, revise their national policies, evaluate their actions and get ready for new efforts."
10. Wide shot, press briefing room
11. SOUNDBITE (English) Mike Ryan, Health Emergencies Programme, WHO:
"It would be very, very short-sighted at this time to assume that lower numbers of cases mean an absolute lower risk. We are pleased, as the DG said, to see the deaths dropping. But this virus has surprised us before, this virus has caught us off guard before. We need to do our jobs and track this virus as best we can. While people get back to living as normal life as possible, we in the scientific and public health community need to track this virus closely in every single country."
12. Wide shot, press briefing room
13. SOUNDBITE (English), Soumya Swaminathan, Chief Scientist, WHO:
"We have to be prepared for the possibility that this virus changes so much that it's able to evade existing immunity. There are approaches that scientists are obviously working on now to develop pan-coronavirus vaccines, and we can tell you a little bit more about what WHO is doing to support and coordinate those efforts. The other point I'd like to make is about protecting populations. And again, we have said repeatedly that we have the tools now, but the tools are only good if they are used. And when we look at the coverage of vaccination across populations, a couple of things stand out, and one is when you look at people that are over 60 who are the most vulnerable, that there are still many countries where the coverage is low, is very low. And in fact, we know this population needs three doses to achieve optimal immune protection."
14. Wide shot, press briefing room

STORYLINE:

The lowest number of COVID-19 deaths since the early days of the pandemic was recorded last week, but “far from being the time to drop our guard, this is the moment to work even harder to save lives,” WHO Director-General Tedros Ghebreyesus said. WHO

Briefing reporters today (13 Apr) in Geneva, Tedros said that “some countries are still witnessing serious spikes in cases, which is putting pressure on hospitals. And our ability to monitor trends is compromised as testing has significantly reduced."

He also said that the COVID-19 IHR Emergency Committee met this week and unanimously agreed that the pandemic remains a public health emergency.

He noted, “This virus has over time become more transmissible, and it remains deadly, especially for the unprotected and unvaccinated that don’t have access to health care and antivirals. The best way to protect yourself is to get vaccinated and boosted when recommended."

Didier Houssin, Chair of the International Health Regulations, said that Member States should use 2022 WHO Strategic Preparedness and Response Plan “to, without delay, revise their national policies, evaluate their actions and get ready for new efforts."

Soumya Swaminathan, WHO’s Chief Scientist, said, “We have to be prepared for the possibility that this virus changes so much that it's able to evade existing immunity. There are approaches that scientists are obviously working on now to develop pan-coronavirus vaccines”.

“When we look at the coverage of vaccination across populations, a couple of things stand out,” she said, “one is when you look at people that are over 60 who are the most vulnerable, that there are still many countries where the coverage is low, is very low. And in fact, we know this population needs three doses to achieve optimal immune protection."
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