WHO / COVID-19 UPDATE

07-Jul-2021 00:05:48
WHO Director-General Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said, "The world is at a perilous point in this pandemic. We have just passed the tragic milestone of 4 million recorded COVID-19 deaths, which likely underestimates the overall toll.” WHO
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STORY: WHO / COVID-19 UDPATE
TRT: 5:48
SOURCE: WHO
RESTRICTIONS: NONE
LANGUAGE: ENGLISH / NATS

DATELINE: 07 JULY 2021, GENEVA, SWITZERLAND
SHOTLIST
1. Wide shot, press briefing room
2. SOUNDBITE (English) Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, WHO Director-General:
"The world is at a perilous point in this pandemic. We have just passed the tragic milestone of 4 million recorded COVID-19 deaths, which likely underestimates the overall toll. Some countries with high vaccination coverage are now planning to rollout booster shots in the coming months and are dropping public health social measures and relaxing as though the pandemic is already over. However, compounded by fast moving variants and shocking inequity in vaccination, far too many countries in every region of the world are seeing sharp spikes in cases and hospitalization. This is leading to an acute shortage of oxygen, treatments and driving a wave of death in parts of Africa, Asia and Latin America."
3. Wide shot, press briefing room
4. SOUNDBITE (English) Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, WHO Director-General:
"Vaccine nationalism, where a handful of nations have taken the lion’s share, is morally indefensible and an ineffective public health strategy against a respiratory virus that is mutating quickly and becoming increasingly effective at moving from human-to-human. At this stage in the pandemic, the fact that millions of health and care workers have still not been vaccinated is abhorrent. Variants are currently winning the race against vaccines because of inequitable vaccine production and distribution, which also threatens the global economic recovery."
5. SOUNDBITE (English) Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, WHO Director-General:
"Just yesterday, we recommended the use of IL-6 (interleukin-6) receptor blockers, a type of monoclonal antibody, in patients with severe or critical COVID-19. This treatment, along with corticosteroids, is strongly recommended for patients with severe or critical disease. This followed a comprehensive new analysis of 27 randomized trials involving nearly 11,000 patients, which found that treating hospitalized COVID-19 patients with IL-6 receptor blockers reduces the risk of death and the need for mechanical ventilation."
6. Wide shot, press briefing room
7. SOUNDBITE (English) Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, WHO Director-General:
"However, like vaccines and other health tools, this breakthrough will only be effective if we can scale up manufacturing and distribute equitably. At present, IL-6 receptor blockers remain inaccessible and unaffordable for the majority of the world but it’s within the power of governments and manufacturers to change that. Going forward, it is key that the therapeutic arm of the ACT-Accelerator is fully funded so further research and development can uncover more lifesaving medicines for the prevention and treatment of COVID-19."
8. Wide shot, press briefing room
9. SOUNDBITE (English) Dr Mike Ryan, EXD, WHO Health Emergencies Programme:
"We would ask governments to be really careful at this moment, not to lose the gains you have made. To open up very carefully. We have seen over the last six months case after case, country after country in which there was a lot of increase in social mixing, without adequate vaccine coverage and we have seen wave after wave of cases. I would hope that in the European environment we will not see a return to the overwhelmed hospitals and the exhausted health workers but that is not a given. This virus is evolving, this virus is changing and we need to be very, very careful at this moment, so that the gains that have been hard won by the behaviours and actions of our population are sustained and that we gain the benefit collectively of all of that effort. So individual behaviour and government support to that behaviour are extremely important. I would urge extreme caution in the complete lifting of public health and social measures at this time because there are consequences for that."
10. Wide shot, press briefing room
11. SOUNDBITE (English) Dr Maria Van Kerkhove, COVID-19 Technical lead, WHO Health Emergencies Programme:
"The virus is showing us right now it is thriving. This is not theoretical. We are not talking about a what if situation right now. We are not talking about preparing for a surge. It is happening now. So what are we learning? The question was about regrets. The question should be, what should we do now in taking all of the knowledge that we have? We have the upper hand here. The virus is mutating. It is changing. Even the Delta variant itself is mutating and it will continue to do so. We still have the upper hand. Let's use the tools that we have to keep transmission down. Drive down transmission and really be smart. Play it safe, be smart, do what we can at an individual level measures. Have really strong policies that are agile that adapt to the local situation and we all really need to play our part here and do what we can to drive this transmission down. The virus has a hold over us right now and we need to regain control over this virus."
12.Wide shot, press briefing room
STORYLINE
WHO Director-General Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said, "The world is at a perilous point in this pandemic. We have just passed the tragic milestone of 4 million recorded COVID-19 deaths, which likely underestimates the overall toll.”

Speaking to reporters in Geneva today (07 Jul), Tedros said, “Some countries with high vaccination coverage are now planning to rollout booster shots in the coming months and are dropping public health social measures and relaxing as though the pandemic is already over. However, compounded by fast moving variants and shocking inequity in vaccination, far too many countries in every region of the world are seeing sharp spikes in cases and hospitalization. This is leading to an acute shortage of oxygen, treatments and driving a wave of death in parts of Africa, Asia and Latin America."

He also said, "Vaccine nationalism, where a handful of nations have taken the lion’s share, is morally indefensible and an ineffective public health strategy against a respiratory virus that is mutating quickly and becoming increasingly effective at moving from human-to-human.”

Tedros continued, “At this stage in the pandemic, the fact that millions of health and care workers have still not been vaccinated is abhorrent. Variants are currently winning the race against vaccines because of inequitable vaccine production and distribution, which also threatens the global economic recovery."

The WHO chief also said that on Tuesday (06 Jul), WHO recommended “the use of IL-6 (interleukin-6) receptor blockers, a type of monoclonal antibody, in patients with severe or critical COVID-19.”

He explained, “This treatment, along with corticosteroids, is strongly recommended for patients with severe or critical disease. This followed a comprehensive new analysis of 27 randomized trials involving nearly 11,000 patients, which found that treating hospitalized COVID-19 patients with IL-6 receptor blockers reduces the risk of death and the need for mechanical ventilation."

Tedros also said, "However, like vaccines and other health tools, this breakthrough will only be effective if we can scale up manufacturing and distribute equitably.”

He continued, “At present, IL-6 receptor blockers remain inaccessible and unaffordable for the majority of the world but it’s within the power of governments and manufacturers to change that. Going forward, it is key that the therapeutic arm of the ACT-Accelerator is fully funded so further research and development can uncover more lifesaving medicines for the prevention and treatment of COVID-19."

WHO’s Mike Ryan also briefed the reporters. He said, "We would ask governments to be really careful at this moment, not to lose the gains you have made. To open up very carefully.”

Ryan explained, “We have seen over the last six months case after case, country after country in which there was a lot of increase in social mixing, without adequate vaccine coverage and we have seen wave after wave of cases.”

He added, “I would hope that in the European environment we will not see a return to the overwhelmed hospitals and the exhausted health workers but that is not a given. This virus is evolving, this virus is changing and we need to be very, very careful at this moment, so that the gains that have been hard won by the behaviours and actions of our population are sustained and that we gain the benefit collectively of all of that effort. So individual behaviour and government support to that behaviour are extremely important.”

Ryan urged “extreme caution in the complete lifting of public health and social measures at this time because there are consequences for that."

WHO’s Dr Maria Van Kerkhove said, "The virus is showing us right now it is thriving. This is not theoretical. We are not talking about a what if situation right now. We are not talking about preparing for a surge. It is happening now.”

She continued, “The virus is mutating. It is changing. Even the Delta variant itself is mutating and it will continue to do so. We still have the upper hand. Let's use the tools that we have to keep transmission down.”

Kerkhove added, “Drive down transmission and really be smart. Play it safe, be smart, do what we can at an individual level measures. Have really strong policies that are agile that adapt to the local situation and we all really need to play our part here and do what we can to drive this transmission down. The virus has a hold over us right now and we need to regain control over this virus."
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