FULL TRANSCRIPT: WHO Press Briefing COVID-19 – March 27 2020

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Good evening. Good morning. Good afternoon. Welcome to the World Health Organization press briefing on briefing on Cozied 19. We have with us, as always, the W.H.O. Director-General, Dr. Tedros. We have Dr. Mike Ryan, executive director of our Emergencies Program, and Dr. Maria Van Kerckhove, technical lead for Covered 19. Dr. Tedros will first give you an update, then when Dr. Ted Rosses finished his opening remarks. We will hear a message about the Solidarity trial. After that, I will open the meeting to questions if you have connected by a Xoom. Please use the raise your hand icon to get Nikki to ask your question. If you’ve connected by phone, please hit Star 9 on your keypad to indicate you want to ask a question. I apologize now to those who miss out as we’ve got hundreds of people connecting already and asking questions for which we thank you all. So we need to keep this briefing to under an hour so that our speakers who are all leading this response can get back to all the other pressing jobs on their endless to do lists. And right now, there’s a lot to do. And to hear more about where we are and what we are doing and what we need to do, I will now hand over to Dr. Ted Ross.

Thank you. Thank you, Margaret. Good morning. Good afternoon. Good evening. Wherever you are. There are now more than half a million confirmed cases of Corbitt 19 and more than 20 thousand dollars. These are tragic numbers. But let’s also remember that around the world, more than a hundred thousand people have recovered. Yesterday, I had the honor of addressing an extraordinary meeting of leaders from the G20 countries. My message was threefold.

We must fight. Unite. And ignite. Fight to stop the virus. With every resource at our disposal. Unite to confront the pandemic together. We are one humanity with one common enemy. No country can fight alone. We can only fight together. And ignite the industrial might and innovation of the G-20 to produce and distribute the tools needed to save lives. We must also make a promise to future generations saying never again. Viral outbreaks are a fact of life. How much damage they do is something we can influence. I thank the G20 countries for their commitment to fight the pandemic, safeguard the global economy, address international trade disruptions and enhance global cooperation. This is especially important for countries who are not part of the G20, but will be affected by decisions made by G20 countries. Earlier today, we held a briefing with around 50 ministers of health from around the world, which at which China, Japan, the Republic of Korea and Singapore share their experiences and the lessons they have learned. Several common themes emerged about what has worked. The need for early detection and isolation of confirmed cases, identification follow up and quarantine of contacts. The need to optimize care and the need to communicate to build trust and engage communities in the fight. Countries also expressed several common challenges. The chronic global shortage of personal protective equipment is now one of the most urgent threats to our collective ability to save lives.

W.H.O. has shipped almost 2 million individual items of protective gear to 74 countries that need it most. And we are preparing to send a similar amount to a further 60 countries, but much more is needed. This problem can only be solved with international cooperation and international solidarity when health workers are at risk. We are all at risk. Health workers in low and middle income countries deserve the same protection as those in the wealthiest countries. To support our call on all countries to conduct aggressive case finding and testing. We are also working urgently to massively increase the production and capacity for testing around the world. One of the most important areas of international cooperation is research and development. A vaccine is still at least toil of 2 8, 18 months away. In the meantime, we recognize that there is an urgent need for therapeutics to treat patients and save lives. Today, we’re delighted to announce that today in Norway and Spain, the first patients will shortly be enrolled in the Solidarity trial. Which we’ll compare the safety and effectiveness of all four different drugs or drug combinations against Cobbett 19. This is a historic trial which will dramatically cut the time needed to generate robust evidence about what drugs work. More than 45 countries are contributing to the trial and more have expressed interest.

The more countries we join the trial, the faster we will have the results. In the meantime, we call on all individuals and countries to refrain from using therapeutics that have not been demonstrated to be effective in the treatment of Cobbett 19. The history of medicine is strewn with examples of drugs that worked on paper or in a test tube, but didn’t work in humans or were actually harmful during the most recent Ebola epidemic. For example, some medicines that were thought to be effective were found not to be as effective as other medicines when they were compared during a clinical trial. We must follow the evidence. There are no shortcuts. We also need to ensure that using unproven drugs does not create a shortage of those medicines to treat diseases for which they have proven effective. A pandemic evolves and more countries are affected. We are learning more and more lessons about what works and what doesn’t. W.H.O. is continuing to support all countries in the response. We have published more than 40 guidance documents on our Web site, providing detailed evidence based recommendations for governments, hospitals, health workers. Members of the public and more more than 1 million health workers have been trained through our courses on open W.H.O. dot org. We will continue to train more. We’re also delighted to report that the coveted 19 Solidarity Fund has now received donations of more than one hundred eight million U.S.

dollars in just two weeks from 200 tons, 3000 individuals and organizations. Thank you to each and every one of you. The English version of our watch is upheld. Ireland now has more than twelve million users globally. And the Arabic Cranach and Spanish versions were launched today. More languages will be added, including Bangalow, Chinese, Hindi, Kurdish, Portuguese, Russian, Somali, or do so highly and more. I have said before that crises like this bring bring out the best and worst in humanity. We have recently seen an increase in scams, cyber attacks and impressions using W.H.O. my name and covered 19. I’m very grateful to those working in various national organizations providing critical cybersecurity intelligence to the W.H.O. cyber security team. Thank you for your efforts to work with us to protect the health systems, health workers and members of the general public who rely on our information systems and digital tools. Special thanks for to Microsoft for assisting on this. I would like to end with something Singapore’s Minister of Health Gein Kim Yong, say during today’s briefing. We are only at the beginning of this fight. We need to stay calm. Stay united and work together. I will repeat. We need to stay calm, stay united and work together. I thank you.

Thank you very much, Dr. Tedros. And then stop the terrorist mentioned.

We’ve got some exciting news on the spot about the Solidarity clinical trial from Norway and we’ll hear a lot more about it via a video intervention by Norway’s minister of health and Care Services.

There Togrow Tartarus. Dear colleagues, dear friends, they’re all I’m honored to address you in this afternoon’s press conference. We are in the middle of a global health emergency, but we are also in the middle of a global quest for knowledge, unlike anything we have ever seen. I find this happening in the midst of all the bad news from around the world. If we find treatments that are safe and effective, we can save lives and we can protect health care professionals and other High-Risk groups from developing disease. It is important that all countries pull together, share data and knowledge to solidarity. Trial is an important piece in the global research effort. Together, researchers from all over the world will assess four of the most promising treatments for Code 19. This one is out. The trial starts including patients today, and I’m very happy to be able to announce that the first patient included is a patient at Oslo University Hospital. I would like to command the W.H.O. in taking on the global leadership in this difficult situation for all our countries and its initiative in setting up the solidarity trade. I would also like to thank your non investing in a seconded director of the Norwegian Research Council and for taking the responsibility of sharing. Secondly, commit Dael to thrive. The writing and will bring expertise and experience from the Bhola vaccine crisis in West Africa in 2015. This trial is and in Goodhand under his leadership. I wish us all good luck with the Solidarity trial. Thank you.

Oh, we can open the floor to questions before we start, I’d like to give you a reminder, if you’ve connected via Xoom, please raise use the raise your hand icon to get in the queue to ask your question. If you’ve connected by phone, please hit Star 9 on your keypad to indicate that you want to ask a question. Please keep your questions short and and confine it to only one question per journalist, please. I will start with Chi Koofi’s Schmidt from Science Chi. Can you? Are you on the line?

We’ve talked about this a couple of times and I want to ask whether there’s any new data on the serology. I mean, we’re still trying to nail down the denominator. There’s a lot of questions about how many people are asymptomatic. Can you say anything about, you know, the newest data that you have? Is there any serology data from China?

I’ll start with that. So, yes. This is something that’s very important to us and to the rest of the world to really understand what the results will be from these serologic studies that are currently underway. What we can say is that there are more than a dozen countries who are conducting studies that epidemiologic studies that involves horology. These countries are focusing on what we call the ethics protocol, which is looking at cases and controls. It involves molecular testing and it involves serologic testing. We’re working with these countries to evaluate which assays they’re actually using. And it will be a combination of a screening assay of or analyzer as well as confirmatory testing involving my micro neutralisation. In addition to that, there are a number of countries that are conducting these age stratified general population sero surveys. W.H.O. has a protocol that we’ve put out online, which is a core protocol which we want countries to use so that we can compare results across these countries. At present, there’s at least four studies that we’re aware of that are ongoing and in in different countries which involve the collection or the use of specimens that have already been collected. So these may be clinical specimens for people who haven’t been hospitalized for other reasons.

We don’t have results yet. We are eagerly anticipating these results so that we could better understand what is the zero prevalence or what are the antibody levels amongst people at different age groups in different parts of the world. This is critical for us to really understand what level of circulation this virus may have or may have had for in people that may have had a subclinical infection. So infection that have had has mild disease and maybe they didn’t seek care or they weren’t picked up through the current surveillance systems. But these are ongoing. In addition to that, we know that there are a number of serologic assays that have been developed. We’re working with a number of countries right now to look at and evaluation of these to see how well they perform. And that needs to be done with well-characterized samples. We have really great partnerships across the globe to be able to do this. We’re trying to accelerate this as quickly as we can as soon as we have these results. We will we will share them, but they’re really critical for our planning purposes going forward.

And if I might add this, a number of these sheriff mini-Budget studies are grouped around a solidarity to platform. So in effect to the organization and our partners have prioritized different research strands. Obviously, establishing which therapeutics were effective has been a major, major priority. But in addition to many of the studies that are going on across the world, there is now a wide group of researchers who’ve come together, as Maria has said, to implement a common protocol which will be known as solidarity to solidarity.

Three will look at human prophylaxis and other interventions and help workers. We are trying to align all of our work not to bring together as many partners as possible. That is not to say that other large trials and other efforts around the world are not important. They are. But for some of the answers that are complex, we’re going to need to pool data. We’re going to need to collect data in a consistent and collaborative way. So we’re epidemiologic data, clinical data, data on protection of prophylaxis. These are answers we need and we need the right answers to drive policy.

Thank you, Dr. Ryan. So the next questions are from here. Let me get a fee. Jeremy, are you there?

I’m here. Can you hear me? Very well. Please go ahead.

Thank you so much for taking the questions. It seems that for younger people are being hospitalized in the US and Europe and in China. I was wondering, how do you explain that discrepancy? And you have concerns that the data that you got in the first place from China may not be as reliable as you thought. Thank you.

So this virus, this Cauvin 19 virus in is capable of causing infection and severe disease in all people of all ages. What we know from data across a number of countries, including data from China, including data from the US and Italy, in Iran and Korea and Japan and others, is that this virus can cause mild disease, can cause moderate disease, which is described as people who still have pneumonia but don’t need oxygen support, who court can cause severe disease, can cause critical disease and who can kill some people amongst children. The data that we’ve seen from a number of countries is that the majority of children that are infected are experiencing mild disease. But we do have reports and there are some publications now that describe severe disease in children. We have reports of deaths in children. There’s one in China and I believe one in the United States as well. We do need more well-characterized descriptions of severity across the age groups so that we can better summarise what we know about this in the different age groups. Ideally, what we would like to see is the use of clinical characterization. Protocol is another data capture platform that the W.H.O. has launched, which involves systematic data collection in terms of signs and symptoms, in terms of regular sampling of hospitalized patients so that we can better characterize the natural history of this disease in people who are in hospital. But there is data that’s coming out from a number of countries.

And we welcome the the rigorous data collection that is occurring in very difficult situations in hospitals, whether this is clinical data or epidemiologic data across a number of countries.

Maybe I could just add that we’ve been reporting for quite a while now. The spectrum of disease. There’s no question that the elderly and those with underlying conditions have been have been affected much more than other age groups. But we’ve certainly spoken here before about the the age profile of patients. The fact that in Korea, 20 percent of the deaths were people under 60 years of age in in in mean in Italy, the fact that up to 15 percent of people in intensive care were under 50 years of age, I think we’ll find in Germany and other countries up to 10 to 15 percent of people with disease, people under 50 who have disease will have a moderate or severe infection. So they may not progressed into critical condition, but the 10 to 15 percent of people under 50 will have a moderate to severe infection. So this is not for most people is a very mild infection, most young people, but a significant minority of people between the age of 20 and 60. This is a significant infection. And if you listen to people who were interviewed on the media, the one thing I’ve seen again and again and again from people, adults who’ve got this and young adults and they keep looking at the camera and saying this is not flu. And I think I think what’s really emerging is a perception that this disease, while not fatal and not causing critical disease in a younger age group, is causing a severe illness in many people.

I just wanted to add the point that we’ve made a few times is that young people are not invincible. The DG has said in his speech. And it’s it’s not just the disease that this virus will cause in people. Every infection of Cauvin 19 presents an opportunity for onward transmission. So even in younger populations, if you do have mild disease. And you think it is no big deal. What the big deal is that you may transmit to somebody else who may be part of that vulnerable population, who may advance to severe disease and who may who may die. So every single person has has a role to play in this outbreak in preventing themselves from getting infected. And we’ve listed a number of ways in which you can do that, which involve hand hygiene and respiratory etiquette, physical distancing, adhering to the recommendations of the national governments. By following those rules, by adhering to that, you are preventing yourself from getting infected and you’re preventing the opportunity for onward transmission to someone who may be vulnerable, more vulnerable.

Thank you, Dr. Van Kirchhoff. I now have Shockoe from NHK, Shockoe. Have you on the line?

Yes. Can you hear me?

Yes, very well. Please go ahead.

Thank you very much for taking my question. Margaret. Regarding the way of counting, in some cases, the Chinese authorities said last month that they don’t count confirmed cases who don’t have symptoms as confirmed cases, but apparently there is a huge number. Such results, symptom cases. Given these facts, John, W.H.O. still make reliable global statistics, relying on the data given by the Chinese authorities. I mean, data not including without seeing them who thumped cases. Thank you.

So I can start with that so we we we have case definitions that we are using which include a laboratory confirmation regardless of the development of symptoms. What we know from case reports from several countries is that on the date of reports, some patients may not have yet developed symptoms and so they may be pre symptomatic. We need to be very careful in our language here. The use of the word asymptomatic globally is, I think, not appropriate. And some people, most people who are identified as asymptomatic because they were identified as part of contact tracing, that means they’re already being medically followed and therefore they’re being tested early. Many of those individuals who are listed as quote unquote, asymptomatic are indeed pre symptomatic and they go on to develop symptoms a day or two later. What is really important for us in terms of our understanding of this epidemiology is when is transmission taking place and what are the drivers of transmission from the epidemiologic data that we have from the viral shedding data that we have. We know that the majority of transmission, the drivers of transmission for Cauvin 19, are people who are symptomatic. Now that that includes people who are in the very early stages of symptom and the viral shedding data supports that in the earlier stages of disease when people are feeling just a little bit unwell and they haven’t yet had pneumonia and they’re certainly not hospitalized yet. Those individuals are the ones that are driving transmission. So it is really important that we follow all of these measures where we keep our physical distance. Transmission of Cauvin 19 is through droplets. It is not airborne. Therefore, someone who has these small liquid particles that come out of their mouth, they travel a certain distance and then they fall. So that’s why we recommend the physical distance to be separated so that you remove the opportunity for that virus to to actually pass from one person to another.

Thank you, Dr. Van Kirchhoff.

Now we have honor from Nova TV in Croatia. Honor. Are you on the line?

Yes, I’m on the line. Can you hear me? Yes, please. Go ahead. And so as you could hear these days, Oxford experts said that Croatia has one of the most strict measures when it comes to number of cases. We have less than 1000 cases right now. I can see that this is changing our lives. So I wonder if you have any idea for how long this covered 19 academic can last. And is there any proof that higher temperatures can stop or slow down spread of this novel virus?

Thank you.

At this point, no one can predict how long this epidemic is going to last. And there are a number of scenarios that take us forward in time.

The I think the the other question people are asking beyond how long is the pandemic going to last is how long are there shut downs?

How long are the lockdowns? How long are all the measures going to last?

And will these measures be changed or be different? We are entering and moving to an uncertain future. You see, many countries around the world are just beginning the cycle of this epidemic.

Some have been through the the cycle of the the epidemic like Singapore and China, and now desperately trying not to have the disease reemerge and cause another wave of infections because of disease importations.

So each country is in a different position and Croatia is probably in a different position to many other countries in Europe right now. The the real trick for countries is to look at the national situation, to look at the sub-national situation, to see if you know where the virus is.

If you know where the virus is, you can break the chain. If you know who has the virus, if you know who the contacts are, you can break the chain.

If you have that knowledge and if you had the knowledge at subnational level, you can only take action at the level at which you can measure. If you know what’s happening in every town, if you know what’s happening, happening in every municipality, every county, every province, you can then begin to adapt your measures for the situation in that particular area. And all of us want to see the measures that we’re using for public health, for a community level to be adapted to the maximum control of the disease. But to the minimum impact on economy and social life. And in order to do that and in order to transition from the current measures that are in place. Countries just simply have to have in place a system to detect.

Isolate, contact, trace.

And quarantine, as well as to continue appropriate hygiene and physical distancing measures. They must be in a position to do that in different parts of a country at different times, and they must be in a position to re-implement measures should the situation deteriorates. That’s takes a very sophisticated surveillance system. It takes a very strong health system to absorb the surge of cases in any particular area. And what we need to do now is evolve from measures that have been designed to suppress and just take the heat out of this epidemic or pandemic to much more precise targets, directed measures that will allow us, at the very least, to live with this virus until we can develop a vaccine to get rid of it.

Thank you, Dr. Brian. I now have Thomas from Bloomberg. Thomas, can you hear me?

Hello. Yes, this is Thomas me there from Bloomberg News. I was just wondering, as the rate of infection increases so dramatically, is there a point that it’s no longer controllable globally?

I’ll start with that. Maybe Dr. Tedros, maybe Michael would like to answer. So I think, you know, you’re saying that the rates are increasing. I think I think the more we test some more we’re going to find. And that’s that’s in one aspect. You know, it’s it’s the it’s an overwhelming thing to see these case numbers increase in it. And in some cases and in many countries, the case numbers are going to increase care. They don’t progressed to severe disease, if that’s possible, to find all of their contacts to follow them for 14 days. If you quarantine your contacts or remove them from the family home or remove them from the communities so that they have they don’t have the possibility of transmitting to other people, to having strong leadership, strong political leadership, repurposing your government and having this whole of government approach to engaging your population, communicating with your population regularly so that they can go through this with you. As you adapt your measures, you implement certain control measures. You may lift other control measures empowering your population so that they know what they have to do. In this fight against Colvert, 19, we have seen in a number of countries and the director general had a very important meeting today with many ministers who who shared what works and what works. Is this what works is case finding is contact tracing is mobilizing your population and communicating with your population. It’s making sure that you have arrangements in place so that people who need to be cared for can be so that health care workers are protected, so that PPE is used appropriately and that they’re saved for frontline workers and utilized by those that need it most. So your answer to can this be controlled is yes, but it takes a lot of aggressive measures. This comprehensive approach that we have been outlining and countries will see improvement as they move through the different transmission scenarios. And so we need to apply what works to show that this that there can be suppression that can happen with this virus.

And if I could add it, it’s really important at this moment that we don’t create a.

Perverse disincentives to detect cases, we should commend countries that are testing and we should not punish countries for getting larger numbers. We should recognize when countries recognize reality. We should reward countries and governments for looking. If we create a situation where we we overreact to the daily no, then there’s a disincentive to actually test countries who test and find cases and do lots of testing and know other viruses should be commended. Secondly, we need to look at rates of things. We compare raw numbers and it’s very, very unhelpful at times. We need to look at what is the number of cases as a proportion of the whole population. What is the number of tests?

As a proportion of the whole population? What’s the positivity rate of tests? How many tests have been done and of them, how many are positive? They give you a much better idea not only of the impact of the disease, but to give you an idea of the effort being made by the public health authority.

But it is important that when we look at these numbers rising, part of that rise in numbers is increase detection due to better testing. And we need to be careful that we don’t punish people for testing. Having a large number means I know where the virus is better.

Thank you very much, Dr. Ryan. We now have Abu Bakar Hamidou from Nigeria, you be Abu Bakr. Are you there?

Yes. Please go ahead with your question.

Well, is there any country that now you get an information about specific meditation for this topic, 19? And secondly, it’s an exact sequence of.

I think that. Peoples in Nigeria. Thank you.

Sorry, could you repeat the question, we lost you a little bit. Your second part of the question wasn’t clear.

Again, I say it when it is zuck’s. Figures of cases in Nigeria that you will have.

So I think your question was about medication.

Is there any medication that works? And what are the what are the issues with cases in Nigeria?

So think thank you for these two questions. With regards to medication, as the director general outlined in his speech today, there are eight there. Currently, there are no specific medications that have been approved for Koven 19. However, there are a number of clinical trials that are ongoing and there is the solidarity trial that is currently starting, which is just enrolling patients now, which is looking at therapeutics in controlled clinical trial in a clinical trial.

And what is very important is that these medications are evaluated appropriately. So we know what works and that we have the right data to support what works. With regards to the numbers of cases in Nigeria, we have seen I don’t know the exact number if you have 46, 46. You want to take that one, Mike?

And you know, the number of cases in Nigeria remain quite low, despite Nigeria having a reasonable capacity to detect those viruses. But the risks are nonetheless there. And we see disease now covered 19 in almost every country in in Africa at this stage. So the risks are certainly rising, but the numbers are still low.

And again, we we need to ensure that we have a very strong public health response on the African continent. We need a response that’s built from the community up. We need to try and avoid the worst impacts of lockdowns, slowdowns, shutdowns. So we minimize the necessity of measures like that, which will have a very hard impact on people’s lives and livelihoods from which they may not recover as quickly as people in other countries.

We also need to look at the very vulnerable populations we have in Africa, refugees, in some cases, people who are living with her HIV and and and children with malnourishment. So there are. Well, Africa is a relatively young continent, and that may be an advantage for Africa right now. There are many, many other vulnerable people in Africa for whom we must provide maximum protection. Africa, again, has demonstrated with polio elimination. This demonstrated with cholera response, with Ebola response that African countries have.

Capacity to respond to epidemics.

The resilience to live through epidemics and to recover from them. But what we need to do is bring our communities on board. We need to leverage the power of community based surveillance. We need to empower and engage with communities, with NGOs, with civil society, with local government, and then all of government approach. As Dr Tedros continues to say, it is even more important in the context of Nigeria and the context of Africa that those that those approaches be taken in terms of I think you said medication’s.

I think it’s really important that we say quite plainly right now that there are no proven effective therapies. Are drugs in the fight against Colvert 19 fairly answers. We’re trying to find a good supportive care.

Early admission to hospital for those who are with underlying conditions were are developing severe disease oxygen. And the provision of oxygen to people is lifesaving. And in certain small number of patients, the ability to ventilate patients in order to get them through the worst of the infection. So we have things that are that work in terms of clinical management. We do not have effective drugs. And that is why the solidarity trial is so important and so many of the other daughter trials around the world are so important to to answer these questions.

Thank you, Dr. Ryan.

I think Margaret wants me to say, yeah. Thank you.

That just one 1.2 aunt, when we have a small number of cases like what we have in Nigeria and many other countries in Africa.

That’s when you can also be able to do the public health interventions effectively to test cases, to follow up contacts and isolate the cases. So the problem doesn’t grow, meaning from those sporadic cases or cluster cases, it will not grow into community transmission. The problem comes when community transmission starts, when the number of cases builds. When that happens, then the you know, doing the public health solutions, we’re saying the follow up, the quarantine and so on will be difficult or if not impossible. But at the same time, the growing number of cases means the health system or the health care system could be overwhelmed, too. So that’s why for Nigeria, the best option is to really cut it from the bad end. When you have the small number of cases to invest more in the publicans interventions and do the things that we have always been saying from the start. By the way, I as W.H.O..

So from preventing it becoming a community transmission.

Thank you, Dr. Tedros. We now have image and folks from the BBC on the line. Imagine either. Yes, I am. I can hear me.

Ok, very well. Please go ahead.

Hi. This is, I think, primarily for Dr. Tedros. And I mean, first of all, it’s an incredibly difficult time. And you are showing leadership, which I think all countries need. However, I’m sure you’re aware that you’re advising things like aggressive measures, sophisticated surveillance.

There was a talk of identifying people and removing them from the community. What do you say to some of the human rights groups who warn that this could set precedents in some some countries where these measures to stay and be used for other purposes? Does that concern you at all?


You know, on especially social distancing or just staying at home, less travel. We know this actually influences the individual human rights, but this is a choice that we should we should make meaning in order to have collective security, to be better society and to fight the virus.

We give our freedom, you know, for a while, and this can be arranged by governments that there are many ways they can use their parliament to have, you know, provisions for a short, short period. And people will agree as long as it brings collective security, they will they will agree and people understand to have to limit their their individual freedom if it’s for the betterment of the society. And when it’s for a short period. So it’s a dialog that should continue between the government and the community.

And that’s what we’re we’re we’re seeing. And without that, I don’t think this virus could be could be stopped.

And something we have been saying to government is, one, you need to have the whole of government approach. All sectors should be mobilized and whole society approach. And there should be a regular communication and increasing awareness and in a way, actually, that creates trust in the community. And when there is trust. Community trust in the government, then there is cooperation.

And what the community is being asked now can, can, can, can happen because through trust, you can ensure community empowerment and ownership.

And we say it many times. This is everybody’s business. This is our collective security.

And it can only be assured that when each and every one of us contribute to that.

If I could just supplement this image of that, we take the issues of personal data, data protection and intrusion very, very seriously.

And our chief information officer, Fernando Mariano, is working with our health information director, Dr. Oliver Morgan, to many others across the house on ensuring that all of the initiatives we’re involved with while aiming to develop good public health information, be it through absolute replications, in no way interfere with the individual rights to privacy and protections under the law. And it is important when we talk about surveillance and the surveillance society, that in the case of public health, the gathering of information about individuals, their movements must be done with the consent of the community and in many cases of the individual themselves and their third-year.

There are serious issues here that have to be addressed. And that’s not just for public health, that’s across society and so many other sectors. But there are times when the good of community and the good of the population is something that we’re in a crisis and it is much better through community, as the DG said, true trust and community engagement that individuals are prepared to offer a little piece of individual sovereignty in order to support the community, the self, the sense of the one to help the many. But that must be a temporary gift. That must be an explicit gift, and that must be something that is not taken for granted. That is a gift of the individual to society, not a demand upon the individual.

And I think this is really important point that guides us in our work inside W.H.O.. And Tedros is very keen and and constantly reminding us of our responsibilities in that regard. Also, in addition to that, A, we will be and have been working very closely with UNICEF, with the Red Cross movement. Another NGO is and will be further strengthening and launching a major initiative on risk communication and community engagement for called with 90, joining together with UNICEF with the Red Cross movement on scaling up our ability to engage with drive the participation and ownership of communities all over the world in the fight against Cawood. It is through strong communities that we avoid the worst outcomes of this disease, and it is through strong community ownership and participation. We will avoid any abuses of human rights that may emerge as the world’s fights a deadly force.

Thank you very much, Dr. Ryan. We’re coming up to the hour, so we’ve only got time for one question. I apologize very much to everyone else. You can send your questions to media inquiries. And we will make sure that we get them answered. The last questions for Antonio at Effy.

Antonio, you’re on the line.

Thank you for taking my question. So, Mr. Peters. Mr. Bennett, as you said today, that there were must unite against coronavirus back in the European Union this week. We have seen a lot of difficulties to ordinate a united response. It looks like countries in the north of Europe, like Germany or Netherlands, are showing some reluctance to help countries in the south, like Spain or Italy. Do you have a message to European Union concerning these problems?

From what I know, what you say, it is new.

New information to me, what we have been advocating and what we know is that they’re working together. They have a regular forum of the European Union and the ECB. ECD is at the center while W.H.O. through our regional office and headquarters, also we’re working with them. And I think a coordinated effort in Europe is important. And that’s what I know as far as the information I have is concerned.

May I just add that we’re extremely grateful to the European Union, the commission, and particularly to our colleagues of Echo, who’ve been providing outstanding support to countries outside Europe and to countries, particularly countries affected by crisis. And it is wonderful to see that even in the midst of crisis in Europe, Europe can still reach out to those that are even more vulnerable and more at risk. And we spoke today at length with Michael Koehler and his team at ECKLE. We’ve been working with our colleagues in difficult and it is impressive to see that fail in crisis and trying to support each other.

Europe is still willing, ready and able to reach out and support those in the south who need their help as well.

And if I could just add that we are seeing globally the world uniting in this. We are seeing the solidarity that the DG has been talking about since day one. We are seeing the sharing of information.

We’re all connected. One country’s success is another country’s success. One country’s failure is another country’s failure. We are all in this together and and through this solidarity, through Europe, through North America, through Asia, through the entire globe, is how we are going to beat this.

So this is a respiratory pathogen. It circulates. We know these so many countries are affected. The only way that we are going to beat this is together.

I’ll wrap up this press conference for today, will reconvene on Monday. And we’ll send you a media advisory with all the details on Monday during the day. If you have a question you want answered, please send it to media inquiries and we’ll do our best to answer as quickly as possible. Thank you very much.

Thank you. Thank you. I got it.

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