Global health chiefs describe COVID-19 as 'most severe health emergency'

Grant Boone
August 5, 2020

There have been more than 4.6 million confirmed cases of the virus in the United States, with more than 155,000 deaths, according to Johns Hopkins University.

Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus told a news briefing there was "no silver bullet at the moment - and there might never be".

In terms of Covid-19 vaccine efforts, he said a number of vaccines were now in phase three clinical trials and there was hope to have a number of effective treatments that could help prevent people from being infected.

According to The WHO's Director-General Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, stopping more coronavirus outbreaks for now comes down to "the basics of public health and disease control,"namely " testing, isolating and treating patients, and tracing and quarantining their contacts".

Media captionCoronavirus vaccine: How close are we and who will get it?

Wang said the two sides worked on formulating a plan for China's contribution to the global tracing effort under a resolution passed by the World Health Assembly under WHO.

Ryan said countries with high transmission rates, including Brazil and India, needed to brace for a big battle: "The way out is long and requires a sustained commitment", he said, calling for a "reset" of approach in some places.

"Some countries are really going to have to take a step back now and really take a look at how they are addressing the pandemic within their national borders", he added.

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Authorities initially said the suspect had explosives in his possession - but this was later disputed by the deputy minister. Two days later, in the Poltava region, a man suspected of stealing a vehicle captured a high-ranking police officer.

World Health Organization emergencies head Mike Ryan said at the same event that countries with high transmission rates, such as Brazil and India, need to brace for a big battle and "reset" their approaches.

"As a result of these efforts, WHO and Chinese experts have drafted the Terms of Reference for the studies and programme of work for an worldwide team, led by WHO", Ghebreyesus said.

Individuals should continue to abide by social distancing rules, wear masks and wash their hands.

Meanwhile in Europe, dozens of people have tested positive for Covid-19 while on a Norwegian cruise ship.

The findings would appear to further disprove a theory put forward by Donald Trump, who has said the pathogen may have originated in a laboratory in Wuhan.

World Health Organization emergencies director Michael Ryan paid tribute to the work already done by Chinese experts but stressed that the search for the disease's origin would require much deeper study.

The Australian city of Melbourne is shutting down shops, factories and other non-essential businesses as authorities fight a second wave of coronavirus.

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