Speaking at the 24 June media briefing on COVID-19, the Director-General highlighted work by WHO and UN partners to ensure global supplies of oxygen for treating patients, and discussed the difficult choices all countries must make in holding gatherings of large numbers of people. 

WHO has released a scientific brief on Breastfeeding and COVID-19 examining the evidence of the risks of transmission of COVID-19 from an infected mother to her baby through breastfeeding, as well as evidence on the risks to child health from not breastfeeding. WHO recommends that mothers with suspected or confirmed COVID-19 should be encouraged to initiate or continue to breastfeed.

WHO Director-General Dr Tedros, in his regular media briefing, urged countries to double down on the fundamental public health measures, while facing the delicate balance between protecting their people and minimizing the social and economic damage caused by the pandemic. “It’s not a choice between lives and livelihoods. Countries can do both.” 

With influenza season starting in the southern hemisphere, WHO has alerted countriesto maintain vigilance for influenza and prepare for the upcoming influenza season during the COVID-19 pandemic. WHO recommends that countries optimize the Global Influenza Surveillance and Response System (GISRS) for both influenza and COVID-19 sentinel surveillance. Countries are urged to (i) sustain influenza surveillance, (ii) report surveillance data to WHO FluNet and FluID or through regional platforms, (iii) send representative viruses to WHO Collaborating Centres of GISRS without delay, and (iv) maintain influenza vaccination programs according to WHO guidance.

The WHO Regional Director for Europe, Dr Hans Henri P. Kluge, shared that the European Region accounts for 31% of COVID-19 cases and 43% of COVID-19 deaths globally. Dr Kluge highlighted that several countries continue to face increasing disease incidence and that “Preparing for the autumn is a priority now at the WHO Regional Office for Europe”.

WHO Director-General Dr Tedros, in his regular media briefing yesterday, highlighted that today is World Refugee Day and highlighted the risks of COVID-19 for some of the world’s most vulnerable people. He also stressed the shared duty to do everything we can to prevent, detect and respond to transmission of COVID-19 among refugee populations.

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