World Health Organization

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.

Regional News • Americas • Brazil
Study finds Brasil to likely have 12 times more cases of coronavirus than reported
Press conference of the Brazilian Health Ministry
Press conference of the Brazilian Health Ministry Credit: Marcos Corrêa/PR (Creative Commons Attribution ShareAlike 4.0)

A study released by researchers at a consortium of Brazilian universities and institutes states the country likely has 12 times more cases of the new coronavirus than are being officially reported by the government.

As the country suffers from too little testing and the long wait to get test results, researchers examined the ratio of cases resulting in deaths through April 10 and compared it with data on the expected death rate from the World Health Organization.

Year to date, the number of hospitalizations for severe respiratory symptoms has been over three times higher than usual for this season, but only 12% of those have been confirmed as COVID-19.

Health
WHO announces that over 20 vaccines for the coronavirus are in development

According to the World Health Organization, just 60 days after the gene was first sequenced, over 20 vaccines are under development worldwide. Dr. Maria Van Kerkhove said at a press conference that "The acceleration of this process is really truly dramatic in terms of what we’re able to do, building on work that started with SARS, that started with MERS and now is being used for COVID-19" and that the first vaccines are already in clinical trials. Even though the process is done in record time, it will take several more months to develop and then produce.

Health
World Health Organization encourages people to stay at home, but stay in contact

The WHO has announced that it recommends using the term "physical distancing" over "social distancing". People should stay at home, but keep in contact with friends and family.