Tag Archives: #COVID-19

The end of the COVID-19 pandemic is in sight: WHO

As the number of weekly reported deaths from COVID-19 plunged to its lowest since March 2020, the head of the World Health Organization (WHO) said on Wednesday that the end of the pandemic is now in sight.

“We have never been in a better position to end the pandemic”, Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus told journalists during his regular weekly press conference.

The UN health agency’s Director-General explained however, that the world is “not there yet”.

Dr. Maria Van Kerkhove, WHO’s technical lead on COVID-19, highlighted that future waves do not need to translate into “waves or death” because there are now effective tools such as vaccines and antivirals specifically for COVID-19. More

15 tonnes of lifesaving COVID-19 supplies arrive in Samoa

3 May 2022 | Suva/Apia A planeload of medical equipment and supplies touched down in Apia on Monday to bolster Samoa’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic. The goods were provided by the World Health Organization (WHO) for the Ministry of Health of Samoa and transported by the United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) through its Pacific Humanitarian Air Service, with funding support from the European Union (EU).

“They say that it is in times of crisis that your true friends are revealed, and WHO, WFP and the EU have shown themselves to be true friends indeed to Samoa – not just in this latest delivery of supplies, but in their ongoing tremendous support for our COVID-19 preparedness and response,” said Minister of Health, the Honourable Valasi Luapitofanua To’ogamaga Tafito Selesele. “This equipment and medical supplies will be used by Samoan health workers around the country as they continue to test and treat patients and to remain safe themselves as they save lives. Faafetai tele lava for your kind assistance.” Continue reading

WFP’s Pacific Humanitarian Air Service flies medical supplies to Vanuatu in support of the Government’s COVID-19 response

As logistics and supply chains remain disrupted across the Pacific region impacting the movement of critical supplies, on 25 March, the United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) – on behalf of WHO, UNFPA, UNDP, UN in Pacific and the Government of New Zealand – transported approximately 5000 kg of COVID-19 medical cargo, including oxygen concentrators and other vital supplies to Vanuatu.

“We are pleased that our Pacific Humanitarian Air Service continues to be the lifeline filling in the gaps le ft by commercial supply chain disruptions. The impacts of the COVID-19 are still being strongly felt across the Pacific, and with the support of our UN and government partners, we are able to move life-saving medical cargo, when and where it is needed,” said Carlos Veloso, Country Director a.i. of WFP’s Pacific Multi-Country Office. Continue reading

Misinformation that Omicron is ‘the last COVID-19 variant’ fuelling uptick worldwide: WHO

A combination of factors, including misinformation that the pandemic is over, the lifting of mask mandates, ending physical distancing – and a more transmissible Omicron BA.2 variant – are causing an increase of COVID-19 cases globally, the World Health Organization warned on Wednesday.

“After several weeks of declines, reported cases of COVID-19 are once again increasing globally, especially in parts of Asia”, WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Gebreyesus told journalists in Geneva.

He added that continued local outbreaks and surges are to be expected, particularly in areas where measures to prevent transmission have been lifted, but that there are ‘unacceptably high’ levels of mortality in many countries, especially where vaccination levels are low among susceptible populations.

“Each country is facing a different situation with different challenges, but the pandemic is not over”, he reiterated. More

Two years on, COVID-19 pandemic ‘far from over’

Almost 500 million people have been infected with the coronavirus since March 2020 and new variants are still a threat. This Friday marks two years since the World Health Organization (WHO) characterised the global spread of COVID-19 as a pandemic. 

The UN health agency’s assessment was made six weeks after the virus was declared a global health emergency when there were fewer than 100 cases and no deaths outside China.  Two years later, more than 6 million people have died.

“Although reported cases and deaths are declining globally, and several countries have lifted restrictions, the pandemic is far from over – and it will not be over anywhere until it’s over everywhere”, said WHO Director Tedros Adhanom Gebreyesus on Wednesday.

The UN Secretary-General issued a statement on Wednesday supporting the WHO chief’s assessment, that it would be ‘a grave mistake’ to think the virus was now in the rear-view mirror. More

Guterres opens Global Disability Summit with inclusivity call

The Global Disability Summit began on Wednesday in Oslo, where UN Secretary-General António Guterres urged all countries to do more to put people living with disabilities “front and centre” of their post-COVID recovery plans.

In opening comments to the meeting – hosted by the Governments of Norway and Ghana – the UN chief insisted that people with disabilities were often the poorest and most disadvantaged members of society.

He said that persons with disabilities were dying “at vastly higher rates”, all because they faced “persistent barriers in health systems”.

In developing countries “which are strangled financially”, Mr. Guterres noted that people with disabilities were among the first victims. More

Putting an end to India’s oxygen crises

Scenes of relatives desperately trying to find oxygen supplies for hospitalized COVID-19 patients in India last year, alerted the world to an acute, deadly problem. Yet that was not this first time the country’s hospitals have been hit by a shortage of the life-saving gas, prompting the question of whether there will be enough supplies, when the next major health crisis hits.

In May 2021, India’s hospitals were at breaking point. The country found itself at the epicentre of the global COVID-19 pandemic, and one of the biggest challenges was providing enough medical oxygen for the sickest patients, unable to breathe unaided, as demand rose ten-fold.
By the end of April, there were just under 18 million confirmed cases, and over 200,000 deaths.

The experts found that, during the May 2021 crisis, the issue was not so much a shortage of medical oxygen, but rather the concentration of medical oxygen in eastern India, and the inability of the distribution network to ramp up to meet the ten-fold surge in demand. More

Statement on the tenth meeting of the International Health Regulations (2005) Emergency Committee regarding the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic

The tenth meeting of the Emergency Committee convened by the WHO Director-General under the International Health Regulations (2005) (IHR) regarding the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic took place on Thursday 13 January 2022 from 12:00 to 17:00 Geneva time (CEST).

The Secretariat presented on the current status of the COVID-19 pandemic and a vision for how to optimize the 2022 response to the COVID-19 pandemic. The Committee praised South Africa for their rapid identification, and transparent and rapid sharing of information on the Omicron VOC.

The Director-General determined that the COVID-19 pandemic continues to constitute a PHEIC. He accepted the advice of the Committee and issued the Committee’s advice to States Parties as Temporary Recommendations under the IHR.

Read here

WHO updates guidelines on COVID-related organ inflammation in children

Children who have developed organ inflammation linked to COVID-19 infection should be given steroid treatment in hospital, the World Health Organization, (WHO), said on Tuesday.

The updated recommendation from the UN health agency comes after it first described Multisystem Inflammatory Syndrome in Children Associated With COVID-19, or MIS-C for short, last May.

“MIS-C is a rare but serious condition where children with COVID-19 develop inflammation affecting different organs of the body”, WHO spokesperson Christian Lindmeier told journalists at a scheduled briefing in Geneva.

“Children with this condition need specialized care and may need to be admitted to intensive care. Although MIS-C is a serious condition, with the right medical care, children with this condition recover”. More

UNICEF and Celebrities Appeal to G7 Countries: Donate COVID vaccinations ‘now’

From David Beckham to Whoopi Goldberg and Angelique Kidjo, Ambassadors for the UN Children’s Fund (UNICEF) and other agencies, have signed an open letter to the upcoming G7 Summit of world leaders, underscoring the urgency of suppling vaccine donations now.

“We’re asking you to make these urgent donations by August and to set out a roadmap to scale up donations as supplies increase”, wrote the celebrities, influencers and activists.

Priyanka Chopra Jonas and Billie Eilish were among those highlighting that the Summit provides a vital opportunity for the G7 intergovernmental group of leading countries to agree actions that will get COVID-19 vaccines “where they are most needed, fast”.

Threatening variants 
Despite spending a year and a half battling the COVID-19 pandemic, the virus continues to spread in many countries, producing new variants that threaten to undo all the progress so far, with more school closures, healthcare disruptions and greater economic fallout, the letter explained.

“The pandemic will not be over anywhere until it is over everywhere, and that means getting vaccines to every country, as quickly and equitably as possible”, said Ramla Ali, José Manuel Calderón and Lucy Liu as signatories. More