No fewer than five million items of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) has been shipped by the World Health Organisation (WHO) to 110 countries to support COVID-19 response.
This was disclosed by the Director-General of WHO, Dr Tedros Ghebreyesus, at a news conference at WHO headquarters in Geneva.
The director-general said the agency was in the process of shipping more than 129 million items of PPE to 126 countries.
He said as part of our commitment to coordinating the global response, WHO has been running the COVID-19 Partners Platform, an online tool that enables countries to match needs with resources.
“This online tool enables countries to enter planned activities for which they need support, and donors to match their contributions to these activities.
“So far, 105 national plans have been uploaded, and 56 donors have entered their contributions, totalling 3.9 billion dollars
“The platform also includes the COVID-19 Supply Portal, enabling countries to request critical supplies of diagnostics, protective equipment and other essential medical provisions,’’ he said.
The director-general said it was not the time for any country to take its foot off the pedal, more than six months into this pandemic.
“This is the time for countries to continue to work hard, on the basis of science, solutions and solidarity,’’ he said.
According to him, almost seven million cases of COVID-19 have now been reported to WHO, and almost 400,000 deaths.
“The situation in Europe is improving, globally it is worsening.
“More than 100,000 cases have been reported on nine of the past 10 days. Yesterday, more than 136,000 cases were reported, the most in a single day so far.
“Almost 75 per cent of yesterday’s cases come from 10 countries, mostly in the Americas and South Asia.
“Most countries in the African region are still experiencing an increase in the number of COVID-19 cases, with some reporting cases in new geographic areas, although most countries in the region have less than 1000 cases.
“We also see increasing numbers of cases in parts of Eastern Europe and central Asia.’’
At the same time, Ghebreyesus said we were encouraged that several countries around the world were seeing positive signs.
“In these countries, the biggest threat now is complacency. Results from studies to see how much of the population has been exposed to the virus show that most people globally are still susceptible to infection.
“We continue to urge active surveillance to ensure the virus does not rebound, especially as mass gatherings of all kinds are starting to resume in some countries.
“WHO fully supports equality and the global movement against racism. We reject discrimination of all kinds.
“We encourage all those protesting around the world to do so safely.
“As much as possible, keep at least one metre from others, clean your hands, cover your cough and wear a mask if you attend a protest,’’ he said.
The director-general, however, urged sick people to stay at home and to contact a health care provider.
“We also encourage countries to strengthen the fundamental public health measures that remain the basis of the response: find, isolate, test and care for every case, and trace and quarantine every contact,’’ Ghebreyesus said.