The fourth meeting of the International Health Regulations (2005) Emergency Committee regarding COVID-19 was convened by the WHO Director-General on 31 July 2020. The Director-General declared that the outbreak of COVID-19 continues to constitute a public health emergency of international concern (PHEIC). The recommendations from the Emergency Committee highlight the need for response effortsto continue over the long term.

In his regular media briefing, WHO Director-General Dr Tedros highlighted the high rates of COVID-19 in longterm care facilities, drawing attention to a recently published WHO policy brief. Dr Tedros also reminded us that COVID-19 is not only a disease that affectsthe elderly and that “young people must take the same precautions to protect themselves and protect others as everyone else. They can be leaders – they should be leaders and drivers of change.”

In the Amazonian region, ensuring access to health services for indigenous populations is a priority. WHO Regional Office for the Americas met virtually with representatives from indigenous organizationstogether with the Coordinator of the Indigenous Organizations of the Amazon Basin (COICA) and called for the “strengthening of health care services in the Amazon through the provision of human resources, supplies and medical devices, including tests, as well as treatments and vaccines when they are available”.

The WHO Regional Office for Europe urges Turkmenistan to activate critical measures to prepare for COVID-19 outbreaks. To date, Turkmenistan has not reported any confirmed COVID-19 cases to WHO, however, the country has recently activated measures to prevent the transmission of respiratory infections within communities.

WHO has published an interim guidance on Considerations for implementing mass treatment, active case‐ finding and population-based surveys for neglected tropical diseases in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic. The document proposes a two-step approach: a risk–benefit assessment, to decide if the planned neglected tropical diseases activity should proceed, and a review of a list of precautionary measures, to decide how the planned activity should be implemented.

This Thursday it will be six months since WHO declared COVID-19 a Public Health Emergency of International Concern. At today’s press briefing WHO Director-General Dr Tedros reiterated the basic measures that are needed to suppress transmission and save lives --to find, isolate, test and care for cases; and trace and quarantine their contacts.“Where these measures are followed, cases go down. Where they’re not, cases go up”.

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