The COVID-19 pandemic has affected older people disproportionately, especially those living in long-term care facilities. WHO has published a policy brief on preventing and managing COVID-19 across long-term care services.
Dr Tedros, in his media briefing yesterday, reminded people not to let their guard down ‘we will not be going back to the “old normal”. The pandemic has already changed the way we live our lives. Part of adjusting to the “new normal” is finding ways to live our lives safely.’
In a joint effort to enhance research and development related to the use of traditional medicines for COVID-19 in Africa, the WHO Regional Office for Africa and the Africa Centres for Disease Control and Prevention (Africa CDC) have launched an expert advisory committee to provide independent scientific advice and support to countries on the safety, efficacy and quality of traditional medicine therapies.
Approximately one third of people in the Americas are at increased risk of developing severe COVID-19 illness due to underlying health conditions. To help confront this, the WHO Regional Office of the Americas/PAHO, in partnership with the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, have developed a new data model that provides a more accurate picture of the prevalence of underlying health conditions in the Americas.
In his regular media briefing,WHO Director-General Dr Tedros reiterated the importance of contact tracing in all communities affected by COVID-19, stating that “No country can get control of its epidemic if it doesn’t know where the virus is”.
As the pandemic deepens economic and social stress, the risk of gender-based violence intensifies, with serious consequences for mental health of those at risk. WHO Regional Director for the Americas, Dr Carissa F. Etienne emphasized the need for integrating psychosocial support and mental health services as part of the COVID19 response.
COVID-19 affects us all, but most especially vulnerable populations such as refugees and migrants. To assess the public health and social impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on refugees and migrants, WHO and partners are conducting a global study called ‘ApartTogether’. You can participate through a survey currently being conducted.
WHO has published an interim checklist for local authorities on Practical actions in cities to strengthen preparedness for the COVID-19 pandemic and beyond. The checklist accompanies the interim guidance on Strengthening preparedness for COVID-19 in cities and urban settings.
WHO Director-General Dr Tedros joined the leaders of Spain to pay tribute to those who lost their lives to COVID-19, and stated that “Spain has shown that with political leadership and action, backed by community support, COVID-19 can be controlled, no matter at what stage virus transmission is at in a country”.
75 countries have submitted expressions of interest to protect their populations and those of other nations through joining the COVAX Facility, a mechanism designed to guarantee rapid, fair and equitable access to COVID-19 vaccines worldwide. The goal of COVAX is to deliver two billion doses of safe, effective vaccines that have passed regulatory approval and/or WHO prequalification.
WHO is supporting ongoing vaccination efforts during the COVID-19 pandemic by providing knowledge and assistance to immunization programmes worldwide and helping countries as they balance the threat of COVID-19 with the threat of vaccine-preventable disease outbreaks and related-deaths.