Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, director-general of the World Health Organization defended himself and the WHO in regards to their “timely” actions when they declared the coronavirus an international health emergency at the end of January. The declaration on January 30th, was “enough time for the rest of the world to respond” as there were only 82 cases of the infections and no deaths outside of China, Tedros said on a virtual media briefing at the WHO’s Geneva headquarters.
At the time, the WHO won a “ground-breaking agreement” with China to send in investors, Tedros stated. Tedros had questioned relations with the United States as it is the biggest donor that suspended funding after it criticized the WHO’s handling of the pandemic and said “We are actually in constant contact and we work together.” He also confirmed that the coronavirus pandemic is still a global health emergency as he had “grave concerns about the potential impact” of the disease “as it starts to accelerate in countries with weaker health systems”.
Head of emergencies at the WHO, Mike Ryan declared that the agency was seeing increased cases of COVID-19 in Haiti, Somalia, South Sudan, Sudan, Yemen, Syria, Afghanistan, northern Nigeria and Sierra Leone. Ryan said its important that they are “constantly on the look out for a jump in infections” and should be prepared to put measures back in place if needed.
“As we have done clearly from the beginning, we will continue to call on countries to implement a comprehensive package of measures to find, isolate, test and treat every case, and trace every contact,” Tedros said.