WHO confirms second Ebola case in Congo outbreak

UNTV News   •   May 15, 2017   •   3260

FILE PHOTO: A health worker sprays a colleague with disinfectant during a training session for Congolese health workers to deal with Ebola virus in Kinshasa October 21, 2014. REUTERS/Media Coulibaly

The World Health Organization (WHO) confirmed on Sunday a second case of Ebola in Democratic Republic of Congo after an outbreak this week of 17 other suspected cases.

Health officials are trying to trace 125 people thought to be linked to the cases identified in the remote northeastern province of Bas-Uele province in northeastern Congo near the border with Central African Republic, WHO’s Congo spokesman Eugene Kabambi said.

Three people have so far died among the 19 suspected and confirmed cases, he added.

It was not immediately clear how the first victim, a deceased male, caught the virus, although past outbreaks have been linked to contact with infected bush meat such as apes.

The outbreak comes just a year after the end of an epidemic in West Africa killed more than 11,300 people mostly in Guinea, Sierra Leone and Liberia.

However, Congo, whose dense forests contain the River Ebola near where the disease was first detected in 1976, has experienced many outbreaks and has mostly succeeded in containing them without large-scale loss of life.

The GAVI global vaccine alliance said on Friday some 300,000 emergency doses of an Ebola vaccine developed by Merck (MRK.N) could be available in case of a large-scale outbreak and that it stood ready to support the Congo government on the matter. — By Aaron Ross | KINSHASA

(Reporting by Aaron Ross; Writing by Emma Farge; Editing by Louise Ireland and Gareth Jones)

Pilipinas, nangangailangan pa ng higit 70K contact tracers – DOH

Robie de Guzman   •   July 1, 2020

MANILA, Philippines – Aminado ang Department of Health (DOH) na malaki pa ang pangangailangan ng bansa pagdating sa bilang ng contact tracers sa gitna ng nagpapatuloy na banta ng novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19).

Sa televised press briefing ngayong Mierkules, Hulyo 1, sinabi ni DOH spokesperson Undersecretary Maria Rosario Vergeire na mahigit sa 70-libong contact tracers pa ang kailangan sa bansa upang maabot ang lagpas 130,000 benchmark ng contact tracers batay sa panuntunan ng World Health Organization (WHO).

Ani Vergeire, nasa 54-libo lang ang contact tracers sa ngayon kaya masasabing mababa ang contact tracing efforts sa bansa.

“Ang naging sistema kasi nilagyan natin ng standard at dapat sa 800 persons in a community dapat may isa kang contact tracer,” paliwanag ng opisyal.

Una nang sinabi ni WHO Country Representative Dr. Rabindra Abeyasinghe na kailangan pang palakasin ng pamahalaan ang contact tracing efforts dahil isa ito sa mga mahahalagang hakbang upang masugpo ang pagkalat ng coronavirus disease.

“What we are advocating is that–the DOH and the government—invest in- as they invest in expanding testing capacity —to invest in actually contact tracing, identifying contacts, and quarantining and isolating them so that we prevent further transmission from those cases. Unfortunately, this aspect of the Philippine response needs a little more strengthening,” ani Abeyasinghe.

Sinabi naman ng DOH na batid nila ang pangangailangang ito ngunit hindi ito ganap na masolusyonan dahil sa kakulangan na rin ng pondo para sa hiring ng dagdag na contact tracers.

“Actually those are valid observations. Meron naman talaga tayong observations na ganyan that some LGUs (local government units), meron talaga tayong kakakulangan for contact tracing,” ani Vergeire.

Aabot sa P11.7 bilyon ang pondong kailangan para makapag-hire ng mas maraming contact tracer.

Una nang tinutulan ng ilang senador ang planong ito ng DOH, at ipinanukalang gamitin na lamang ng ahensiya ang mga health worker sa bawat barangay gayundin ang contact tracing solutions na ginagamit na rin ng ilang lokal na pamahalaan.

Ngunit giit na Vergeire, dapat pumasa sa qualifications na inirekomenda ng Department of the Interior and Local Government ang mga magsisilbing contact tracers.

“Maipaliwanag nila sa pamilya kung ano ba talaga ang COVID, kung bakit tayo nagte-trace ng contacts, ano ba ang consequences kapagka kumalat and so on and so forth,” sabi ng opisyal.

“So, kasali rin sila doon sa monitoring team sa grounds. So, maraming task na in-identify,” dagdag pa niya.

Patuloy na nananawagan ang DOH sa mga lokal na pamahalaan na palakasin at dagdagan pa ang kanilang contact tracing teams upang mapabilis ang isolation ng mga nagkaroon ng direct contact sa mga taong nag-positibo sa COVID-19. – RRD (mula sa ulat ni Correspondent Aiko Miguel)

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COVID-19 pandemic speeding up globally, more resilience needed: WHO chief

UNTV News   •   June 30, 2020

The COVID-19 pandemic is still speeding up, and the world will have to face a new normal of living with the virus in the coming months, World Health Organization (WHO) Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus warned on Monday.

According to WHO data, as of 15:15 CEST on Monday, the total confirmed number of COVID-19 cases reported to the WHO worldwide had amounted to 10,021,401, including 499,913 deaths.

At a press conference held on Monday, Tedros said that Tuesday marks six months since the first reports of COVID-19 cases in the world. As the global cases exceed 10 million, people should rethink the lessons they’ve learned, and recommit themselves to doing everything to save lives.

“Six months ago, none of us could have imagined how our world and our lives would be thrown into turmoil by this new virus. The pandemic has brought out the best and the worst of humanity. All over the world, we have seen heartwarming acts of resilience, inventiveness, solidarity, and kindness. But we have also seen concerning signs of stigma, misinformation, and the politicization of the pandemic,” he said.

Tedros said that globally, the pandemic is speeding up. He warned all countries to prepare for a long-term battle.

“The critical question that all countries will face in the coming months is how to live with this virus. That is the new normal. We all want this to be over. We all want to get on with our lives. But the hard reality is, this is not even close to being over. Although many countries have made some progress, globally, the pandemic is actually speeding up,” he said. (Reuters)

Coronavirus pandemic getting worse globally, WHO head Tedros says

UNTV News   •   June 26, 2020

The COVID-19 pandemic is subsiding in Europe, but getting worse globally with the number of infections expected to reach 10 million next week and the number of deaths 500,000, the head of the World Health Organisation Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said on Thursday (June 25).

Speaking via video-conference with members of the European Parliament’s health committee, Tedros said more than 9.2 million COVID-19 cases had been reported to the Geneva-based WHO.

He warned the international community that the virus is still circulating, adding it was ‘time to be on our guard, not to let it down.’

The former Ethiopian health minister said it could take a year before an effective vaccine against the coronavirus that has caused the COVID-19 pandemic were to be invented.

Tedros rejected criticism that China did not warn other countries about the epidemic early enough, saying it was not possible to compare its response time with anyone.

He praised the Chinese authorities for the ‘very strong social measures’ it implemented in Wuhan – where the disease was first identified in late 2019 – and for being able to ‘identify the virus at a record time.’ (Reuters)

(Production Clement Rossignol)

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