World Health Organization

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World Health Organization says Covid-19 herd immunity will not happen in 2021
World Health Organization says Covid-19 herd immunity will not happen in 2021
Credit: Illustration: Pendect, Ashley Winkler. (Creative Commons Attribution ShareAlike 4.0)

Soumya Swaminathan, World Health Organization (WHO) chief scientist, said Monday that despite the growing availability of vaccines herd immunity to the Covid-19 would not be achieved in 2021. . Until then, preventive measures such as masks will be necessary.

Swaminathan commended the "incredible progress" made by researchers to develop several safe and effective vaccines at unprecedented speed.

"We won't get back to normal quickly," Dale Fisher, chairman of the WHO's Outbreak Alert and Response Network, told a conference hosted by the Reuters news agency.

Regional News • Europe
WHO envoy warns of third Coronaivurs wave in Europe if governments don't build necessary infrastructure

David Nabarro, a World Health Organization special Coronavirus envoy, has told the Swiss newspaper Solothurner Zeitung that Europe could face a third wave next year if governments "don’t build the necessary infrastructure."

He praised Asian countries such as South Korea: “People are fully engaged, they take on behaviors that make it difficult for the virus. They keep their distance, wear masks, isolate when they’re sick, wash hands and surfaces. They protect the most endangered groups.”

“Another element that is very clear in East Asia is that once you have brought down the case numbers … you don’t relax the measures,” he said. “You wait until the case numbers are low and stay low. You have to prepare the necessary measures to stop future outbreaks.”

Health
Ebola outbreak in Congo ended according to WHO

According to the World Health Organization the Congo has successfully ended an Ebola outbreak while fighting Covid-19 at the same time.

WHO Africa chief Matshidiso Moeti has stated that "Overcoming one of the world's most dangerous pathogens in remote and hard to access communities demonstrates what is possible when science and solidarity come together," adding that "This constituted a major logistical challenge in terms of the implementation of response activities in a health system already weakened by previous epidemics and by a weak involvement of the community."

"Tackling Ebola in parallel with COVID-19 hasn't been easy, but much of the expertise we've built in one disease is transferable to another and underlines the importance of investing in emergency preparedness and building local capacity."

Health
EU calls for swift reform of WHO
EU calls for swift reform of WHO
Credit: © Yann Forget / Wikimedia Commons (Creative Commons Attribution 2.5)

German Health Minister Jens Spahn said at a press conference that "the current pandemic challenges us very acutely, but it is very important that the [WHO] reform debate is to be held in parallel".

The draft EU document, which will represent the bloc's position at a WHO assembly in mid-November, calls on the agency to make public more quickly how and whether its member countries meet their obligations on information sharing in health crises.

Health
WHO: Coronavirus fatigue is increasing
WHO: Coronavirus fatigue is increasing
Credit: © Yann Forget / Wikimedia Commons (Creative Commons Attribution ShareAlike 3.0)

"Based on aggregated survey data from countries across the Region, we can see, not surprisingly, that fatigue among those surveyed is increasing," World Health Organization's Europe director Hans Kluge said in a statement Tuesday. "Although fatigue is measured in different ways, and levels vary per country, it is now estimated to have reached over 60% in some cases."

While increasing fatigue levels were expected, Kluge urges "to reinvigorate and revive efforts to tackle the evolving COVID-19 challenges."

Health
World Health Organizations that 10% of the world's people have been infected with Covid-19
World Health Organizations that 10% of the world's people have been infected with Covid-19
Credit: unsplash.com / Clay Banks

Dr. Michael Ryan, the head of emergencies at the World Health Organization, has stated that by "best estimates" around 10% of all people worldwide may have been infected with Covid-19 already.

This number is over 20 times higher than the number of confirmed and reported cases.

Health
Africa declared free of wild polio by World Health Organization
Somali boy receives a polio vaccination
Somali boy receives a polio vaccination Credit: PV2 Andrew W. McGalliard (Public Domain)

Health officials from the World Health Organization have announced that all 47 countries in the WHO’s Africa region have eradicated the crippling viral disease that attacks the nervous system and can cause irreversible paralysis within hours.

Health
WHO advises mask usage by children 12 and over
Children using face mask on an airplane
Children using face mask on an airplane Credit: TaylorHerring (Creative Commons Attribution ShareAlike 2.0)

The World Health Organization advises children over the age of 12 should wear masks following the same conditions applied to adults in their country.

For children between six and eleven, the organization advises an analysis if the children are interacting with elderly or how widespread is the outbreak in their region.

Children aged five and under should not, under normal circumstances, wear masks.

The WHO admits little is known about how children transmit the new coronavirus but cites evidence that teenagers can infect others in the same way as adults.

Regional News • Africa
DR Congo: Growing Ebola outbreak, 48 reported cases
This 1995 photograph shows scientist with personal protective equipment (PPE) testing samples from animals collected in Zaire for the Ebola virus.
This 1995 photograph shows scientist with personal protective equipment (PPE) testing samples from animals collected in Zaire for the Ebola virus. Credit: Photo Credit:Content Providers(s): CDC/ Ethleen Lloyd / Public domain

The western Democratic Republic of Congo reports 48 Ebola cases since June 1st. 20 people have died. WHO emergency expert Mike Ryan: "This is still a very active outbreak, and I would say it is still a great concern."

Even though numbers are still low, Ryan voices concerns: "In the era of COVID, it is very important that we do not take our eyes off these other emerging diseases."

Health
U.S. sees a decrease in child vaccinations amid pandemic, C.D.C. reports
U.S. sees a decrease in child vaccinations amid pandemic, C.D.C. reports
Credit: unsplash.com/CDC

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is reporting a significant decrease in childhood vaccination rates since the start of the Covid-19 outbreak in March. The study shows a decline in vaccination rates of around 17% in 5-month-year-old children in May 2020, resulting in only approx. 50% of children being vaccinated. "The avoidable suffering and death caused by children missing out on routine immunisations could be far greater than Covid-19 itself," warns Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, the WHO’s director-general.

"With lower than normal vaccination coverage among all age groups, children may be at higher risk for vaccine-preventable diseases such as measles, whooping cough, chickenpox, and more," said CEO of Magnolia Health Aaron Sisk, adding that "even during these uncertain times, it’s important that we continue to encourage everyone to protect themselves, including getting immunizations to protect children from preventable health complications."

Regional News • World
Germany increases WHO contribution to over €500 million in 2020
Germany increases WHO contribution to over €500 million in 2020
Credit: Stephan Baumann (Creative Commons Attribution 3.0)

The German Health Minister Jens Spahn has announced that Germany will increase its contribution to the funds of the World Health Organization (WHO) in 2020 to over €500 million in total. He stated that "We need a strong, transparent and accountable WHO today more than ever" and that "We stand together in fighting global health problems".

Regional News • Americas • United States
Senator announces that United States have officially withdrawn from World Health Organization

The United States Senator Bob Menendez has announced via his Twitter account that the United States Congress has been informed that the President of the United States Donald Trump has officially withdrawn the United States from the World Health Organization.

Regional News • Africa
Africa: Coronavirus outbreak accelerating across continent, according to WHO
Dr. Matshidiso Rebecca Moeti, Regional Director of the WHO Regional Office for Africa
Dr. Matshidiso Rebecca Moeti, Regional Director of the WHO Regional Office for Africa Credit: Jude Morel, Seychelles News Agency / CC BY (Creative Commons Attribution 4.0)

Matshidiso Moeti, the WHO's Africa regional director, said that the coronavirus pandemic is accelerating in all of Africa. The virus is spreading beyond major cities and into rural areas. Cases doubled in just 18 days to 200000. Moeti: "Even though these cases in Africa account for less than 3 percent of the global total, it's clear that the pandemic is accelerating."

Health
WHO changes guidelines and advises to use facial masks
Pedestrians walking on the streets of Macau wearing protective face masks
Pedestrians walking on the streets of Macau wearing protective face masks Credit: Macau Photo Agency

The World Health Organization has updated its guidelines regarding the usage of facial masks in order to slow down the spread of the coronavirus. According to the guidelines in "settings where a physical distancing cannot be achieved " people should wear fabric masks with three layers, while people over the age of 60 and people with underlying health conditions should wear medical-grade masks.

Regional News • Americas • Brazil
Brazil: Jair Bolsonaro threatens to pull out of WHO
Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro meets evangelical leaders
Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro meets evangelical leaders Credit: Isac Nóbrega/PR

President Jair Bolsonaro threatened on Friday to follow the US and pull Brazil out of the World Health Organization. The thread follows a warning from the U.N. agency to Latin American governments about the risk of lifting lockdowns before slowing the spread of the coronavirus throughout the region.

Health
WHO confirms second Ebola outbreak in Democratic Republic of Congo
World Health Organisation headquarters, Geneva
World Health Organisation headquarters, Geneva Credit: Yann Forget (Creative Commons Attribution ShareAlike 3.0)

The World Health Organization has confirmed a second Ebola outbreak in the Democratic Republic of Congo with six infected and four dead people so far. According to officials, the outbreak has taken place in the Équateur Province and the country's national medical research organization INRB is currently analyzing samples for secondary confirmation. In addition to the new Ebola cases, the country also battles the Covid-19 pandemic and the world's largest measles outbreak.

Regional News • Americas • United States
Trump to cut US ties to the World Health Organization
World Health Organisation headquarters, Geneva
World Health Organisation headquarters, Geneva Credit: Yann Forget (Creative Commons CC0 Waiver)

President Donald Trump said Friday that the U.S. would terminate its relationship with the World Health Organization, stating it had failed to adequately respond to the Covid-19 pandemic because China has “total control” over the global organization.

The US is currently the biggest funder of the organisation, contributing with $450 million in membership dues and other voluntary payments for specific programmes.

Health
WHO suspends clinical test for malaria drug hydroxychloroquine
WHO suspends clinical test for malaria drug hydroxychloroquine
Credit: Marcelo Casal/Agencia Brasil

The World Health Organization (WHO) has stopped a clinical trial for hydroxychloroquine due to safety concerns after a paper published in The Lancet showed that people taking the drug were at higher risk of death and heart problems than those that were not.

During a news briefing WHO director-general, Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, stated "This concern relates to the use of hydroxychloroquine and chloroquine in Covid-19,"

Regional News • World
Dispute between US and China over the U.N. Security Council Covid-19 resolution

Opposite positions about the World Health Organization are paralyzing the U.N. Security Council decision about Covid-19 crisis.

China thinks the WHOs role is major in the current pandemic crisis management, hence it should be explicitly included in any resolution; while the US remains extremely critical against the WHO since President Donal Trump accused the organization of failure and decided to suspend their funding in April.

Yesterday, Tunisia, Security Council elected member, and France, permanent member, made a joint proposal for a resolution demanding an immediate cease-fire in major conflicts to ease better management of the pandemic.

Regional News • Americas • United States
Trump announces that the US will halt funding for the World Health Oranisation

The president of the United States Donald Trump has announced in a press briefing that the country will halt funding for the World Health Organisation. Trump said that the WHO had "failed in its basic duty and it must be held accountable", referring to the coronavirus pandemic.