WHO / WORLD HEALTH ASSEMBLY

18-May-2020 00:05:33
Addressing World Health Organization (WHO) Member States attending the foreshortened and virtual World Health Assembly in Geneva, Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus told Member States the pandemic “illustrates why investing in health must be at the centre of development.” WHO
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STORY: WHO / WORLD HEALTH ASSEMBLY
TRT: 5:33
SOURCE: WHO
RESTRICTIONS: NONE
LANGUAGE: ENGLISH / NATS

DATELINE: 18 MAY 2020, GENEVA, SWITZERLAND
SHOTLIST
FILE – GENEVA, SWITZERLAND

1. Various shots, WHO headquarters exterior

18 MAY 2020, GENEVA, SWITZERLAND

2. SOUNDBITE (English) Tedros Ghebreyesus, Director-General, World Health Organization (WHO):
“Six months ago, it would have been inconceivable to most that the world’s biggest cities would fall eerily quiet; that shops, restaurants, schools and workplaces would be closed; that global travel would grind to a standstill; that simply shaking hands could be life-threatening.”
3. Med shot, delegates
4. SOUNDBITE (English) Tedros Ghebreyesus, Director-General, World Health Organization (WHO):
“More than ever, the pandemic illustrates why investing in health must be at the centre of development. We’re learning the hard way that health is not a luxury; it’s a necessity.”
5. Wide shot, Dr. Tedros at the podium
6. SOUNDBITE (English) Tedros Ghebreyesus, Director-General, World Health Organization (WHO):
“Today I am calling on all nations to resolve that they will do everything it takes to ensure that the 2020 coronavirus pandemic is never repeated.”
7. Wide shot, Dr. Tedros at the podium
8. SOUNDBITE (English) Tedros Ghebreyesus, Director-General, World Health Organization (WHO):
“This is so much more than a health crisis. Lives and livelihoods have been lost or upended. Hundreds of millions of people have lost their jobs. Fear and uncertainty abound. The global economy is headed for its sharpest contraction since the Great Depression.”
9. Wide shot, Dr. Tedros at the podium
10. SOUNDBITE (English) Tedros Ghebreyesus, Director-General, World Health Organization (WHO):
“WHO fully understands and supports the desire of countries to get back on their feet and back to work. It’s precisely because we want the fastest possible global recovery that we urge countries to proceed with caution. Countries that move too fast, without putting in place the public health architecture to detect and suppress transmission, run a real risk of handicapping their own recovery.”
11. Med shot, delegate
12. SOUNDBITE (English) Tedros Ghebreyesus, Director-General, World Health Organization (WHO):
“Early serology studies are painting a consistent picture: even in the worst-affected regions, the proportion of the population with the tell-tale antibodies is no more than 20 percent, and in most places, less than 10 percent. In other words: the majority of the world’s population remains susceptible to this virus. The risk remains high and we have a long road to travel.”
13. Wide shot, Dr. Tedros at the podium
14. SOUNDBITE (English) Tedros Ghebreyesus, Director-General, World Health Organization (WHO):
“We welcome the proposed resolution before this Assembly, which calls for a step-wise process of impartial, independent and comprehensive evaluation. To be truly comprehensive, such an evaluation must encompass the entirety of the response by all actors, in good faith. So, I will initiate an independent evaluation at the earliest appropriate moment to review experience gained and lessons learned, and to make recommendations to improve national and global pandemic preparedness and response.”
15. Med shot, WHO’s Health Emergencies Programme Executive Director, Michael Ryan
16. SOUNDBITE (English) Tedros Ghebreyesus, Director-General, World Health Organization (WHO):
“The pandemic is a reminder of the intimate and delicate relationship between people and planet. Any efforts to make our world safer are doomed to fail unless they address the critical interface between people and pathogens, and the existential threat of climate change that is making our earth less habitable. For all the economic, military and technological might of nations, we have been humbled by this very small microbe.”
17. Med shot, delegates
18. SOUNDBITE (English) Tedros Ghebreyesus, Director-General, World Health Organization (WHO):
“The health impacts of the pandemic extend far beyond the sickness and death caused by the virus itself. The disruption to health systems threatens to unwind decades of progress against maternal and child mortality, HIV, malaria, tuberculosis, noncommunicable diseases, mental health, polio and many other of the most urgent health threats.”
19. Close up, WHO symbol
STORYLINE
Addressing World Health Organization (WHO) Member States attending the foreshortened and virtual World Health Assembly in Geneva, Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus told Member States today (18 May) the pandemic “illustrates why investing in health must be at the centre of development.”

The 73rd session of the Assembly – which is the decision-making body of the World Health Organization (WHO) - is being held virtually over two days – instead of the usual two weeks, because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Dr. Tedros called on calling on “all nations to resolve that they will do everything it takes to ensure that the 2020 coronavirus pandemic is never repeated.”

He said, “the global economy is headed for its sharpest contraction since the Great Depression.”

No country has been spared in coming to grips with the infection, he added, before noting that while some are still “bracing for the worst”, others have begun to ease lockdown measures.

Urging caution, the Director-General said nonetheless “WHO fully understands and supports the desire of countries to get back on their feet and back to work.”

He added that “countries that move too fast, without putting in place the public health architecture to detect and suppress transmission, run a real risk of handicapping their own recovery.”

Dr. Tedros warned that early blood test studies consistently indicated that only between one and two people in 10, appeared to have come into contact with the disease, triggering an immune reaction shown by the existence of antibodies.

He said, “early serology studies are painting a consistent picture: even in the worst-affected regions, the proportion of the population with the tell-tale antibodies is no more than 20 percent, and in most places, less than 10 percent. In other words: the majority of the world’s population remains susceptible to this virus. The risk remains high and we have a long road to travel.”

The Director-General welcomed the proposed resolution before the Assembly, “which calls for a step-wise process of impartial, independent and comprehensive evaluation.”

He said, “to be truly comprehensive, such an evaluation must encompass the entirety of the response by all actors, in good faith.”

The ongoing pandemic, Dr. Tedros said, risks unwinding “decades of progress against maternal and child mortality, HIV, malaria, tuberculosis, noncommunicable diseases, mental health, polio”, among other urgent health threats.

Under the assembly’s cut-down agenda, country delegations are expected to deliver statements focusing specifically on the COVID-19 pandemic, with other business pushed back to later in the year.

To date, the WHO has reported more than 4.5 million cases of COVID-19 infection and more than 300,000 lives lost.
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