Connect with us


Schools reopening: WHO official calls for data-based Coronavirus strategies



Schools reopening: WHO official calls for data-based Coronavirus strategies

Dr Michael Ryan, a senior World Health Organisation (WHO), official has called for comprehensive, data-driven COVID-19 public health strategies, and not a politically-driven decision-making process as schools reopen.

Ryan, Executive Director of the WHO Health Emergencies Programme, said this while responding to questions from reporters at the regular WHO news briefing in Geneva.

He said: “we can’t play Whack-a-mole. We need to be able to walk and chew gum at the same time”.

The senior official said that the topic of school reopenings had become a “political football”, which was not fair on children.

“Decisions must be made on data, and an understanding of the risks. There needs to be a sustained commitment on suppressing the virus. If we can suppress it, then, schools can open safely.”

Also, responding to a question on the United States Government’s decision to begin formal withdrawal from the WHO, Ryan said that the UN health agency was focused on “controlling the pandemic, reducing mortality and suppressing transmission”.

He said WHO had been dealing with many other situations, including health crises in Syria and Yemen, and Ebola and plague outbreaks in the Democratic Republic of the Congo.

In spite of the US withdrawal, Ryan expressed hope that the Organisation would be able to continue to collaborate with US-based colleagues over the coming years.

In his remarks, Dr Tedros Ghebreyesus, WHO Director-General, said 230,000 cases of COVID-19 were reported to WHO as at July 12, and almost 80 per cent of those cases were reported from just 10 countries, and 50 per cent came from just two countries.

“Although, the number of daily deaths remains relatively stable, there is a lot to be concerned about.

“All countries are at risk of the virus, as you know, but not all countries have been affected in the same way.

“There are roughly four situations playing out across the world at the moment,’’ he said.

Ghebreyesus said the first situation was countries that were alert and aware – they prepared and responded rapidly and effectively to the first cases. As a result, they have so far avoided large outbreaks.

“Several countries in the Mekong region, the Pacific, the Caribbean and Africa fit into that category.

“Leaders of those countries took command of the emergency and communicated effectively with their populations about the measures that had to be taken.

“They pursued a comprehensive strategy to find, isolate, test and care for cases, and to trace and quarantine contacts, and were able to suppress the virus.’’

The director general said the second situation was countries in which there was a major outbreak that was brought under control through a combination of strong leadership and populations adhering to key public health measures.

“Many countries in Europe and elsewhere have demonstrated that it is possible to bring large outbreaks under control.

“In both of these first two situations, where countries have effectively suppressed the virus, leaders are opening up their societies on a data-driven way.

“Leaders have opened to data driven step-by-step basis, with a comprehensive public health approach, backed by a strong health workforce and community buy-in.

“The third situation we’re seeing is countries that overcame the first peak of the outbreak, but having eased restrictions, are now struggling with new peaks and accelerating cases.

“In several countries across the world, we are now seeing dangerous increases in cases, and hospital wards filling up again,’’ he said .

In addition, he said it would appear that many countries were losing gains made as proven measures to reduce risk are not implemented or followed.

“The fourth situation is those countries that are in the intense transmission phase of their outbreak.

“We’re seeing this across the Americas, South Asia, and several countries in Africa.

“The epicentre of the virus remains in the Americas, where more than 50 per cent of the world’s cases have been recorded.

“But we know from the first two situations that it’s never too late to bring the virus under control, even if there’s been explosive transmission.

“In some cities and regions where transmission is intense, severe restrictions have been reinstated to bring the outbreak under control,’’ the director-general said.

According to him, WHO is committed to working with all countries and all people to suppress transmission, reduce mortality, support communities to protect themselves and others, and support strong government leadership and coordination.

Edited By: Remi Koleoso/Donald Ugwu (NAN)

Cecilia Ologunagba: is a graduate and a professionally trained journalist, with experience in national news reporting/editing and verification at the News Agency of Nigeria. NNN is a Nigerian online news portal that publishes breaking news in Nigeria, and across the world. Our journalists are honest, fair, accurate, thorough and courageous in gathering, reporting and interpreting news in the best interest of the public, because truth is the cornerstone of journalism and they strive diligently to ascertain the truth in every news report. Contact: editor[at]

Kogi acting CJ pledges to sustain late Ajanah’s legacies Abia stakeholders pass vote of no confidence in Rep. Nkole over alleged poor performance Edo election: Security council condemns violence – Obaseki, CP PDP governors’ forum urges security agencies to re-strategise to curb insecurity Commissioner decries parents’ attitude over students lateness to schools in Delta GLEIF reaffirms CSCS as sole local operating unit Buhari greets Labour Minister, Chris Ngige at 68 Women groups rally support for Obaseki, Speaker in Edo Kano traffic agency bans long vehicles from offloading goods during the day Flood destroys 110 houses in Zamfara Kaduna attacks: Sen Sani urges concerted efforts by govt, security agencies Flooding: NEMA urges Jalingo residents to avoid settlement along riverine areas Zamfara APC Crisis: Court dissolves Zamfara executives, orders fresh congresses NBBF mourns former D’Tigers invitee, Ojo Adamawa Assembly approves Gov. Fintiri’s N550m Agric loan  ACF urges FG to tackle killings, insecurity in southern Kaduna Insecurity: Umahi advises Buhari to retain service chiefs Man, 27, drowns in Kano pond COVID-19 : EKSG introduces tax relief, incentives for businesses Apapa congestion : NUPENG directs tanker drivers to suspend services in Lagos Buhari to inaugurate NCDMB’s 17-storey hqtrs Aug. 13 VP Osinbajo wants deepening of PPP for infrastructure development   COVID-19: UN’s Deputy Secretary-General urges solidarity among countries  Gombe State Govt begins fumigation of 2,021 schools ahead of  reopening Ministry of Communications wins FG’s 2020 innovation competition prizes COVID-19: World Bank approves $114.28 m for Nigeria NSE: Trading sustains bullish trend, rises 0.45% PGF DG tasks APC Campaign Council on Edo governorship election Chinese court sentences another Canadian to death for drugs Obaseki celebrates Daisy Danjuma at 68 AU body advises FG on holistic approach in fights against corruption Experts urge mothers to embrace exclusive breastfeeding Osinbajo urges private sector to play key role in averting recession Rainy season: FRSC warns drivers against worn out tyres Buhari signs Amended Companies and Allied Matters Bill, after 30 years Stakeholders in Kaduna describe breastfeeding as “untapped gold mine” Ondo: Akeredolu’s running mate, Aiyedatiwa, promises loyalty to APC Erdogan says Turkey has resumed drilling in eastern Mediterranean NGO advocates collaboration among women to check rising rape cases COVID-19: Jigawa CJ directs reopening of courts Why we increased hate speech fine to N5m – Lai Mohammed COVID-19 cases in Africa surpasses 1m -WHO Ondo 2020: Akeredolu’s running mate ‘ll APC’s chance – Party Chieftain NGO, United States business group partner to empower 15m Nigerians in Agriculture Reps task TCN on completion of Kano power projects 3 students killed in road accident in northern Tanzania Health workers in Lagos State call for improved welfare packages COVID-19: Dancer wants Nigerians look inwards for way forward Edo: Buhari urges APC to avoid Rivers, Zamfara experiences 2 men docked over alleged threat to life