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Source: United Nations (Video News)

“The next few months are going to be very tough and some countries are on a dangerous track, WHO’s Director General Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said today adding that “we are at a critical juncture in this pandemic, particularly in the northern hemisphere.”

Speaking at a press briefing at the Headquarters of the World Health Organization (WHO) in Geneva earlier today, Dr Tedros said “too many countries are seeing an exponential increase in cases and that is now leading to hospitals and ICU running close or above capacity and we’re still only in October. We urge leaders to take immediate action, to prevent further unnecessary deaths, essential health services from collapsing and schools shutting again. As I said it in February and I’m repeating it today: this is not a drill.”

Also speaking at the briefing Dr Maria Van Kerkhove, COVID-19 Technical lead of the WHO Health Emergencies Programme said “this virus and the circulation of this virus is not even all over the world. And, I think that’s really, really important because many countries are in a very dangerous situation, but many other countries are actually in a very good position. They’ve brought transmission down to a very low level, they’re opening up their societies. But the message that we have, and we cannot say this stronger is to keep it up. And in fact, I would say even scale up.”

Dr Kerhove also said “in many parts of the world, individuals need to leave their home to be able to buy food, to be able to go to work, to ensure that they receive a salary so that heat can be in their home and that they can feed their children. And so, there are a number of reasons why individuals may not be able to comply. And I think in those situations, it’s really important that communities and governments and religious leaders and other leaders figure out how we can support individuals, families, communities to comply with the measures that are needed.”

Dr Mike Ryan, Executive Director of the WHO Health Emergencies Programme said “while the numbers are extremely high, we are lucky that the deaths have not immediately tracked that. So, supporting our frontline workers in Europe, ensuring they have the right equipment, there’s enough of them, that they’re arrested, that they’re able to work, that the system remains efficient and calm, and that able to we’re prioritize the clinical pathway for people through that system, that people are getting into early care and we’re prioritizing care for those who are vulnerable will save lives. We don’t have to see deaths absolutely track back to the horrific levels they were as a proportion of all cases in springtime. Things have changed. We’re better. We’re better now.”

Commenting on the yeaterday’s news that the US authorities have approved the use remsidivr drug to treat COVD-19 patients, Dr Soumya Swaminathan, WHO’s Chief Scientist said “as we know, remdesivir was given an emergency use authorization a few months ago, and that’s done in the case of an emergency in a pandemic, for example. It’s based on very preliminary data and it’s essentially a temporary measure while more data is being accumulated. So, what we understand from the FDA decision yesterday was based on data submitted to them from Gilead, which did not include the Solidarity Trial results.”

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