WHO convenes its fourth Emergency Committee on COVID-19! Talks of sustained response efforts for this ‘lengthy’ pandemic!
On 31 July 2020, WHO Director-General held the fourth Emergency Committee on COVID-19 under the International Health Regulations (2005) (IHR). The committee appreciated the response efforts of WHO and the world in combating the deadly COVID-19. But the committee stressed that the pandemic is going to stretch longer. Therefore, it urged countries and world to continue with the response efforts.
WHO and its fourth Emergency Committee on COVID-19
The Director-General of WHO had convened the fourth Emergency Committee on COVID-19 on 31 July 2020. They reviewed and discussed the various data and evidence on COVID-19. They unanimously agreed that the pandemic continues to rage. It is still a global public health emergency of international concern [PHEIC].
The Committee is happy and appreciates the response of WHO and its partners in dealing with the pandemic. But considering the fact that the pandemic is going to be here for long, the committee has urged for a sustained effort at community, national, regional, and global level.
WHO Director-General and his action against the pandemic
Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, WHO Director-General had rung the alarm of the pandemic on 30 January 2020. He had declared COVID-19 as a case of PHEIC which is the highest level of alarm as per the IHR. During that time, there were less than 100 cases reported in the world. Besides this, no deaths reports were outside China at that time. Therefore, his action was prompt and timely. And in his opening remarks, The D-G told the committee:
“The pandemic is a once-in-a-century health crisis, the effects of which will be felt for decades to come,”
“Many countries that believed they were past the worst are now grappling with new outbreaks. Some that were less affected in the earliest weeks are now seeing escalating numbers of cases and deaths. And some that had large outbreaks have brought them under control.”
COVID-19 and the world
The deadly virus has affected 18 million people worldwide and caused 687k deaths. Fresh outbreaks are taking place in countries and places thought to have managed to overcome the pandemic in their nations. USA, Brazil, and India are the three worst-affected countries of the world.
Therefore, the committee asked people to continue with the efforts to protect themselves and others from the virus. They should also support research into the virus, its behavior, immunity, and treatment and prevention.
The Committee wants WHO to mobilize global and regional organizations and partners for COVID-19 preparedness and also response. WHO should strengthen its support to Member States and see that its health care system is able to cope up with the burden of cases. WHO should boost research into the viral studies. And make diagnostics, therapeutics, and vaccines when developed available to people of the world.
The next meeting will be in three months or earlier if the WHO D-G feels the need for it.