VIDEO Covid-19: Six million people worldwide test positive

“The government of the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) also announced today that a new outbreak of Ebola virus disease has been detected near the city of Mbandaka in Équateur province.”

More than six million people worldwide have been infected with Covid-19. More than 370 000 people have died from the virus.

This was the announcement made by Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, Director-General of the World Health Organisation (WHO) today, June 1.

“As we work with governments across the world to suppress the virus and accelerate science around diagnostics, therapeutics and vaccines, we also continue to respond to other health emergencies and new disease outbreaks.

“The government of the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) also announced today that a new outbreak of Ebola virus disease has been detected near the city of Mbandaka in Équateur province,” he said.

The announcement follows a complex Ebola outbreak in eastern DRC, which seems to be in its final phase.

The new one is on the other side of the DRC in the northwest.

Adhanom Ghebreyesus said WHO will continue to support the DRC in tackling Ebola, as well as responding to Covid-19 and the world’s largest measles outbreak.

WHO continues to provide the world with new and updated technical guidance, based on the best evidence.

“During this pandemic, we have seen that mass gatherings have the potential to act as super- spreading events.

“To assist groups planning such gatherings, WHO released updated guidance to help organisations determine how and when mass gatherings can safely resume,” Adhanom Ghebreyesus said.

WHO has worked closely with several sporting organisations including FIFA, UEFA, Formula 1 and religious groups, including Organisation of Islamic Cooperation, which oversees the Hajj, as they conduct risk assessments around mass gatherings.

“WHO has updated its risks assessment tool so that organisations can score each risk factor and control measure, which results in an overall risk score.

“Ultimately WHO advises on the risk assessment and then organisations make the decision on how best to proceed.

“While we all want sporting events to restart, we want to make sure that it is done as safely as possible,” he said.

“We all know that the impacts of Covid-19 extend well beyond the death and disease caused by the virus itself.”

The pandemic has forced countries to make difficult choices about suspending some health services.

Media briefing on COVID-19

Posted by World Health Organization (WHO) on Monday, 1 June 2020

“Building on previous guidance on maintaining essential health services through the Covid-19 pandemic, today we are providing operational guidance on how best to put that into practice.

“Ensuring coordination and development of new ways to deliver care while limiting visits to health facilities is key to keeping people safe and ensuring health systems are not overburdened.

“This means using digital technologies to deliver some routine services remotely, and expanding the number of medications delivered to the home,” Adhanom Ghebreyesus said.

One of the areas in which health services have been particularly affected is in the care of people with non-communicable diseases, including diabetes, cancer, cardiovascular disease or a chronic respiratory disease.

“We already know that people living with NCDs are more vulnerable to becoming severely ill or dying from Covid-19.

“At the same time, many people living with non-communicable diseases are no longer able to access the medicines that they need,” he said.

WHO conducted a rapid assessment of service delivery for NCDs during the Covid-19 pandemic with 155 countries submitting data.

“The results released today show that more than half of the countries surveyed have partially or completely disrupted services for treatment of hypertension, half for treatment of diabetes and related complications, 42 per cent for cancer treatment and 31 per cent for cardiovascular emergencies,” he said.

Rehabilitation services have been disrupted in almost two-thirds of countries.

“The Covid-19 response must, therefore, be inclusive of the healthcare needs of people living with non-communicable diseases,” he said.

One of the main causes of NCDs is tobacco.

“This year, WHO’s World No Tobacco Day focused on reaching young people to educate them on tobacco industry tactics used to manipulate them into using deadly products that kill eight million people every year.

“Even during this global pandemic, where we know tobacco puts users at a higher risk of severe disease and death, the tobacco and nicotine industry persist with their dangerous marketing tactics that aim to attract new users.

“Just as we continue to respond to well-known health threats like tobacco, we’re also responding to one of the most urgent challenges of our time, the threat of antimicrobial resistance.

“I’m glad to say a record number of countries are now monitoring and reporting on antibiotic resistance – marking a major step forward in the global fight against drug resistance,” Adhanom Ghebreyesus said.

“As we gather more evidence, it’s clear that the world is losing its ability to use critically important antimicrobial medicines all over the world.

“On the demand side, in some countries there is an overuse of antibiotics and antimicrobial agents in both humans and animals.

“However, in many low- and middle-income countries these lifesaving medicines are out of reach for those who need them, leading to needless suffering and death.”

On the supply side, there is essentially very little market incentive for developing new antibiotics and antimicrobial agents, which has led to multiple market failures of very promising tools in the past few years.

The Covid-19 pandemic has led to increased use of antibiotics, which ultimately will lead to higher bacterial resistance rates that will impact the burden of disease and deaths during the pandemic and beyond.

In the current clinical management of Covid-19, Interim Guidance, WHO has outlined the appropriate use of antibiotic therapy for medical professionals to treat patients.

“I will conclude by saying that we have received questions about Friday’s announcement by the President of the United States of America.

“The world has long benefited from the strong, collaborative engagement with the government and the people of the United States.

“The US government and people’s contribution and generosity towards global health over many decades has been immense, and it has made a great difference in public health all around the world.

“It is WHO’s wish for this collaboration to continue,” said Adhanom Ghebreyesus.

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