WHO / COVID-19 UPDATE

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04-May-2022 00:05:08
Globally, reported cases and deaths from COVID-19 are continuing to decline, with reported weekly deaths at their lowest since March 2020, the World Health Organization (WHO) announced on Wednesday. WHO

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STORY: WHO / COVID-19 UPDATE
TRT: 5:08
SOURCE: WHO
RESTRICTIONS: NONE
LANGUAGE: ENGLISH / NATS

DATELINE: 04 MAY 2022, GENEVA, SWITZERLAND

SHOTLIST:
1. Wide shot, press briefing room
2. SOUNDBITE (English) Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, Director-General, World Health Organization (WHO):
"Globally, reported cases and deaths from COVID-19 are continuing to decline, with reported weekly deaths at their lowest since March 2020. But these trends, while welcome, don’t tell the full story. Driven by Omicron sub-variants, we are seeing an increase in reported cases in the Americas and Africa. The South African scientists who identified Omicron late last year have now reported two more Omicron sub-variants, BA.4 and BA.5, as the reason for a spike in cases in South Africa. It’s too soon to know whether these new sub-variants can cause more severe disease than other Omicron sub-variants, but early data suggest vaccination remains protective against severe disease and death."
3. Wide shot, press briefing room
4. SOUNDBITE (English) Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, Director-General, World Health Organization (WHO):
"Testing and sequencing remain absolutely critical. The BA.4 and BA.5 sub-variants were identified because South Africa is still doing the vital genetic sequencing that many other countries have stopped doing. In many countries we are essentially blind to how the virus is mutating. We don’t know what’s coming next."
5. Wide shot, press briefing room
6. SOUNDBITE (English) Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, Director-General, World Health Organization (WHO):
"Coupled with low investment in early diagnosis, it is simply not acceptable that in the worst pandemic in a century, innovative treatments that can save lives are not reaching those that need them. We’re playing with a fire that continues to burn us. Meanwhile, manufacturers are posting record profits. WHO supports fair reward for innovation. But we cannot accept prices that make life-saving treatments available to the rich and out of reach for the poor. This is a moral failing."
7. Wide shot, press briefing room
8. SOUNDBITE (English) Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, Director-General, World Health Organization (WHO):
"The health challenges in Ukraine are worsening by the day, especially in the country’s east. WHO has now verified 186 attacks on health care in Ukraine. Scores of civilians were able to leave Mariupol yesterday and WHO and our partners were able to receive them and provide healthcare. Humanitarian corridors like this are critical to get civilians to safety, and health services to those in need. We urge the Russian Federation to allow people to leave Mariupol and other areas where civilians are at great risk. And we continue to call on the Russian Federation to end this war."
9. Wide shot, press briefing room
10. SOUNDBITE (English) Dr Mike Ryan, Executive-Director, Health Emergencies Programme, World Health Organization (WHO):
"So this perception that respiratory viruses ultimately settle into a seasonal pattern is not true. It depends where you are. It depends whether the population is vaccinated or not. And it depends whether new variants are actually emerging. So there are a lot of factors that still need to play out for us to determine whether this virus (SARS-CoV-2) is truly going to become a seasonal occurrence. But what is true is if you've got low population protection, if people are crowded together in conditions where a new variant is spreading, you will see high levels of transmission, whether that's in winter or summer."
11.Wide shot, press briefing room
12.SOUNDBITE (English) Philippa Easterbrook, Scientist, WHO Global HIV, Hepatitis and STIs Programmes:
"I think it's important to emphasise that this is still a rare event and that stomach bugs and vomiting, diarrhoea occur not uncommonly in children, and only a very small proportion would ever progress to this, as I said, rare event with liver failure and other complications. I think it's important for parents to be aware and that if their child has persistent symptoms or develops jaundice with yellow eyes and pale stools to then certainly seek medical advice. And in the meantime, until we fully understand the causes and the infectious agent, if indeed that is going to be the case, then basic principles of good hygiene and hand-washing should apply, as they should for any gastroenteritis stomach upset. Thank you."
13. Wide shot, press briefing room

STORYLINE:

Globally, reported cases and deaths from COVID-19 are continuing to decline, with reported weekly deaths at their lowest since March 2020, the World Health Organization (WHO) announced on Wednesday.

Speaking to journalists in Geneva, WHO's Director-General, Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, said that "these trends, while welcome, don’t tell the full story."

Ghebreyesus said that, driven by Omicron sub-variants, there are an increase in reported cases in the Americas and Africa. The South African scientists who identified Omicron late last year have now reported two more Omicron sub-variants, BA.4 and BA.5, as the reason for a spike in cases in South Africa.

According to WHO's chief, "it’s too soon to know whether these new sub-variants can cause more severe disease than other Omicron sub-variants, but early data suggest vaccination remains protective against severe disease and death."

Ghebreyesus said that "testing and sequencing remain absolutely critical" but many countries have stopped doing genetic sequencing.

"In many countries we are essentially blind to how the virus is mutating. We don’t know what’s coming next," the agency's Director-General said.

He said it is "simply not acceptable that in the worst pandemic in a century, innovative treatments that can save lives are not reaching those that need them."

"We’re playing with a fire that continues to burn us. Meanwhile, manufacturers are posting record profits. WHO supports fair reward for innovation. But we cannot accept prices that make life-saving treatments available to the rich and out of reach for the poor. This is a moral failing," said WHO's chief.

Ghebreyesus also provided an update on the situation in Ukraine, saying the health challenges "are worsening by the day, especially in the country’s east."

WHO has now verified 186 attacks on health care in Ukraine. Scores of civilians were able to leave Mariupol yesterday and WHO and its partners were able to receive them and provide healthcare.

Asking Russia to end the war, the Director-General also urged the country to allow people to leave Mariupol and other areas where civilians are at great risk.

The Executive-Director of the Health Emergencies Programme at WHO, Dr Mike Ryan, noted a perception that "respiratory viruses ultimately settle into a seasonal pattern", but explained this is not true.

According to the expert, it depends where it is, whether the population is vaccinated or not, and if new variants are emerging.
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