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In his opening remarks at the World Health Assembly, WHO Director-General Dr Tedros declared: ‘We have come together as the nations of the world to confront the defining health crisis of our time.’ In concluding he asserted that the COVID-19 pandemic reminds us that we need a healthier, safer and fairer world with a stronger WHO to support this goal.  

The 73rd World Health Assembly which opened today, will focus on the COVID-19 pandemic. Member States will deliver statements, report their progress in fighting the coronavirus, share knowledge on the evolving situation and consider a draft resolution on COVID-19. It is available live online in Arabic, Chinese, Russian, English, French, and Spanish.  

Japan has agreed to contribute over US$2.7 million to help nine countries in the Americas strengthen their capacities to detect cases, monitor, and control outbreaks of COVID-19, as well as ensure that reliable public health information on the COVID-19 pandemic is available to people involved in the response and the general public.

WHO has published a new scientific brief on “Multisystem inflammatory syndrome in children and adolescents with COVID-19”, given the reported clusters of children and adolescents who require admission to intensive care units with a multisystem inflammatory condition. There is an urgent need for collecting standardized data describing epidemiology, clinical presentations, severity, and outcomes. WHO Director-General Dr Tedros, in his media briefing yesterday, highlighted the need to “unleash the full power of science, to deliver innovations that are scalable, usable, and benefit everyone, everywhere, at the same time”.

WHO Regional Director for South-East Asia, Dr Poonam Khetrapal Singh, urged countries in the region to lift public health and social measures (so called lockdowns) in a graded manner and that Local epidemiology should guide focused action in ‘new normal’ COVID-19 world.

Lesotho reported its first case of COVID-19. WHO has published an interim guidance document on Laboratory biosafety fortesting of clinical specimens of patients that meet the case definition of coronavirus disease (COVID-19).

WHO has published an annex to the guidance on considerations on adjusting public health and social measures (PHSM). The new annex provides a pragmatic decision process to help countries through adapting PHSM based on epidemiological and public health criteria.   

The Director-General Dr. Tedros in his media briefing yesterday, urged a slow, steady, lifting of public health and social measures (so called lockdowns), which is key to stimulating economies, while also keeping a vigilant eye on the virus so that control measures can be quickly implemented if an upswing in cases is identified. 

WHO has published new guidance on Surveillance strategies for COVID-19 human infection. The document provides an overview of surveillance strategies that Member States should consider as part of comprehensive national surveillance for COVID-19. It also emphasise the need to adapt and reinforce existing national systems where appropriate and to scale-up surveillance capacities as needed.

A newly-releasedWHO scientific brief summarizes the current evidence on the impact of angiotensinconverting enzyme (ACE) inhibitors and receptor blockers on severe acute respiratory illness due to COVID-19.

New interim guidance has been released by the Inter-Agency Standing Committee on how to adapt COVID-19 prevention and response measuresfor use in low capacity and humanitarian settings.

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