Post sponsored by

Source: United Nations (Video News)

WHO Director-General Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said, “while the direct health impacts of the pandemic on young people have been generally less severe, youth are disproportionately affected by the long-lasting consequences of the pandemic: disruptions to education, economic uncertainty, loss or lack of employment opportunities, impacts on physical and mental health, and trauma from domestic violence to name a few.”

Speaking to reporters in Geneva today (14 Dec), Tedros said, “through the new Global Youth Mobilization, the Big 6 youth organizations, WHO and the UN Foundation will engage young people around the world in the design of community initiatives to turn around the impact of the pandemic.”

He added, “we hope that it will become a platform for supporting progress towards other health goals, including universal health coverage. The voice of the youth for health for all is very crucial.”

Michelle Shi Jie Chew is a Youth Commission Member of the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies. She told reporters via a video link “our generation is actually very aware of the social, economic and environmental challenge facing us our communities and the planet. We are not silent and we are not standing idly by.”

She said, “we want to help and we are capable to help, we are really not super-spreaders or troublemakers but we are part of the solution and mobilizing and volunteering to see the change that we want in our communities.”

WHO’s Dr Mike Ryan also briefed the reporters. He said, “we are aware of this genetic variant I think reported, in about a thousand individuals in England and the authorities in the UK under Matt Hancock’s leadership obviously are looking at the significance of this.”

He continued, “we’ve seen many variants, as we’ve always said here, this virus evolves and changes over time and we’ve seen different variants emerge. The question is whether there is significance in public health terms and certainly looking at this particular variant seems to have become more prevalent in the UK.”

Ryan added, “we’ll obviously need to work with our international lab network to see if that variant is becoming more prevalent on an international basis. But again, to say that this kind of evolution or mutations like this are actually quite common.”

Dr Maria Van Kerkhove, WHO’s COVID-19 Technical Lead said, “I have an update as we’re sitting here from our colleagues in the UK. So there is no evidence so far that this variant behaves differently, but of course we’re being cautious to evaluate this properly as I explained and so what they are looking at is to see if there is any changes in the development of neutralizing antibodies and that is something that will be tested for all the variants that are identified.”

She continued, “So, so far, we don’t have any evidence that this variant behaves differently. So I just wanted to provide that quick update. But, we will continue to evaluate and inform you of any changes.”

Kerkhove also said, “we can tell you that I understand their concern for Santa because he is of older age and he is of one of the older age groups, but I can tell you that Santa Claus is immune to this virus and we had a brief chat with him and he is doing very well. Ms. Claus is doing very well, they’re very busy right now but he is immune and we have heard from a number of leaders across the world who have told us that they have restricted, relaxed, excuse me, the quarantine measures for Santa to enter the airspace.”

She added, “so he will be able to travel in and out of the airspace and be able to deliver presents to children, but I think it is very important that all children of the world understand that physical distancing by Santa Claus and also of the children themselves must be strictly enforced. So it is really important that the children of the world still listen to their mums and dads and their guardians and make sure that they go to bed early on Christmas Eve, but Santa will be able to travel around the world to deliver presents. ”

Marking the 70th anniversary of the founding of the UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR), WHO’s Executive Director Tedros said, “refugees are among the most vulnerable people in our world. Today we are seeing the largest population movements and displacement since the end of the Second World War. Many refugees and migrants live highly insecure lives on the fringes of society, often in fear and often without access to essential health and other services.”

He continued, “to change this situation, it’s vital that all countries include refugees and migrants in national health plans as part of their commitment to universal health coverage. Happy birthday, UNHCR. WHO is proud to work with you to improve the health and well-being of all refugees. Thank you, and congratulations to my brother Filippo Grand