WHO / COVID-19 BRIEFING

20-Mar-2020 00:03:37
World Health Organization (WHO) Director-General, Dr Tedros Ghebreyesus, announced that on Thursday the Chinese city of Wuhan reported no new COVID-19 cases for the first time since the outbreak started. He said “Wuhan provides hope for the rest of the world.” WHO
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STORY: WHO / COVID-19 BRIEFING
TRT: 03:35
SOURCE: WHO
RESTRICTIONS: NONE
LANGUAGES: ENGLISH / NATS

DATELINE: 20 MARCH 2020, GENEVA, SWITZERLAND
SHOTLIST
1. Wide shot, conference room

2. SOUNDBITE (English) Tedros Ghebreyesus, Director-General, World Health Organization (WHO):

“Yesterday Wuhan reported no new cases for the first time since the outbreak started. Wuhan provides hope for the rest of the world.”

3. Med shot, WHO staff taking notes

4. SOUNDBITE (English) Tedros Ghebreyesus, Director-General, World Health Organization (WHO):

"Today, I have a message for young people. You're not invincible. This virus could put you in hospital for weeks, or even kill you. Even if you don't get sick. The choices you make about where you go could be the difference between life and death for someone else. I'm grateful that so many young people are spreading the word and not the virus."

5. Med shot, Dr Tedros

6. SOUNDBITE (English) Dr Mike Ryan, Executive Director Health Emergencies Programme, World Health Organization (WHO):

“Take one look at what's happening in some health systems around the world. Look at the intensive care unit completely overwhelmed the doctors and nurses utterly exhausted. This is not normal. This isn't just a bad flu season. These are health systems that are collapsing under the pressure of too many cases, this is not normal. This is not just a little bit worse than we're used to this is this is tough for systems.”

7. Wide shot, conference dais

8. SOUNDBITE (English) Dr Mike Ryan, Executive Director, Health Emergencies Programme, World Health Organization (WHO):

“The greatest tragedy for me, among all the tragedies we're seeing in this outbreak is the prospect of losing part of our health workforce, that those individuals, those doctors and nurses and hygienists, and others, who put themselves in the frontline to care for our most vulnerable, would themselves become exposed, become sick and potentially die because they don't have protective equipment.”

9. Med shot, Dr Mike Ryan at the dais

10. SOUNDBITE (English) Dr Mike Ryan, Executive Director, Health Emergencies Programme, World Health Organization (WHO):

“You read one and a half million lab tests around the world. If we look forward in this epidemic, and we project ourselves forward a number of months, and the amount of testing that's going to be needed, we need to scale that up approximately 80 to 100 times. So it's not about doubling the availability of lab tests. It's not about trebling it, it's about potentially increasing that 80 fold. Now, that's an extreme analysis. But that's what we need to aim for.”

14. Med shot, Dr Mike Ryan at the dais

15. SOUNDBITE (English) Tedros Ghebreyesus, Director-General, World Health Organization (WHO):

“We have saying from the beginning, that our greatest concern is the impact this virus could have if it gains a foothold in countries with weaker health systems or with vulnerable populations.”

16. Med shot, Dr Mike Ryan at the dais

17. SOUNDBITE (English) Tedros Ghebreyesus, Director-General, World Health Organization (WHO):

“That concern has now become very real and urgent. COVID-19 is taking so much from us but it also giving us something especially the opportunity to come together as one humanity, to work together, to learn together to grow together.”

18. Wide shot, conference room
STORYLINE
World Health Organization (WHO) Director-General, Dr Tedros Ghebreyesus, today (20 Mar) announced that on Thursday the Chinese city of Wuhan reported no new COVID-19 cases for the first time since the outbreak started. He said “Wuhan provides hope for the rest of the world.”


Dr Tedros, talking to reporters in Geneva, issued a message for young people, saying, “you’re not invincible. This virus could put you in hospital for weeks, or even kill you. Even if you don't get sick. The choices you make about where you go could be the difference between life and death for someone else. “


He said he was “grateful that so many young people are spreading the word and not the virus.”


WHO’s Executive Director, for Health Emergencies Programme, Dr Mike Ryan, said, “this is not normal. This isn't just a bad flu season. These are health systems that are collapsing under the pressure of too many cases, this is not normal. This is not just a little bit worse than we're used to this is this is tough for systems.”


Ryan said, “the greatest tragedy for me, among all the tragedies we're seeing in this outbreak is the prospect of losing part of our health workforce, that those individuals, those doctors and nurses and hygienists, and others, who put themselves in the frontline to care for our most vulnerable, would themselves become exposed, become sick and potentially die because they don't have protective equipment.”


He said, “you really have to get back to the hard core public health measures of case finding, contact tracing, quarantine isolation. So in some senses, we need to slow down the virus then we need to suppress the virus. And then we need to go after the virus and that takes different combinations of different measures.”

Ryan said, “:social or physical distancing measures and movement restriction measures are very hard socially, and they're very hard economically.”


The Who official said, “WHO has distributed one and a half million lab tests around the world. If we look forward in this epidemic, and we project ourselves forward a number of months, and the amount of testing that's going to be needed, we need to scale that up approximately 80 to 100 times. So it's not about doubling the availability of lab tests. It's not about trebling it, it's about potentially increasing that 80 fold. Now, that's an extreme analysis. But that's what we need to aim for.”


Dr Tedros said, “our greatest concern is the impact this virus could have if it gains a foothold in countries with weaker health systems or with vulnerable populations.


He concludes by saying, “COVID-19 is taking so much from us but it also giving us something especially the opportunity to come together as one humanity, to work together, to learn together to grow together.”


According to WHO’s situation report for Friday, there are globally 234,073 confirmed COVID- 19 cases and 9,840 deaths.


WHO informed that the first vaccine trial has begun just 60 days after the genetic sequence of the virus was shared by China.
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