World Health Organisation

Pacific countries press ahead with AstraZeneca rollout

That is despite several European countries and Australia limiting its use because of safety concerns.

In Australia, the Pfizer vaccine is now the preferred option for people under 50, Britain is offering an alternative for those under 30, while France and Belgium recommend AstraZeneca be given to those 55 and over.

European regulators said earlier this month they had found a possible link between AstraZeneca's Covid-19 vaccine and a rare blood clotting problem that led to a small number of deaths.

Global Covid-19 infections rise for fourth consecutive week, deaths level off

The number of new deaths from the coronavirus levelled off after a six-week decrease, with just over 60,000 new deaths reported.

Europe and the Americas continued to account for nearly eight in 10 of all cases and deaths, while the only region to report a decline in fatalities was the Western Pacific, down nearly a third, compared to the previous week.

Infections rose notably in South East Asia, the Western Pacific, Europe and the Eastern Mediterranean, according to the World Health Organisation’s Weekly Epidemiological Update.

WHO warns of 'catastrophic moral failure'

Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said it was not fair for younger, healthy people in richer nations to get injections before vulnerable people in poorer states.

He said over 39 million vaccine doses had been given in 49 richer states - but one poor nation had only 25 doses.

Meanwhile, both the WHO and China were criticised for their Covid response.

An independent panel commissioned by the WHO said the UN public health body should have declared an international emergency earlier, and also rapped China for not taking public health measures sooner.

WHO concerned at ‘growing perception’ COVID pandemic is passing

WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus told journalists at the regular Geneva briefing that progress on vaccines, in recent days, “gives us all a lift, and we can now start to see the light at the end of the tunnel.”

He praised the United Kingdom’s emergency authorisation for the Pfizer/BioNTech rollout which is due to begin next week, describing it as “an important scientific step for the world”.

WHO worried COVID ‘amnesia’ will lead to another pandemic

“I have seen the amnesia that seems to descend upon the world after a traumatic event, and that’s understandable,” Mike Ryan told a briefing in Geneva.

“But if we do this again like we did after SARS, like we did after H5N1, like we did after H1N1 pandemic, if we continue to ignore the realities of what emerging and dangerous pathogens can do to our civilization, then we are likely to experience the same or worse again within our lifetimes,” he said.

WHO Director General’s Award Tonga Health Minister and Tongan Nurses Choir

The award was announced at the opening session of the resumed 73rd World Health Assembly.

The citation acknowledged the Minister and the choir who “lifted our spirits and touched our hearts”, through their video performance at the opening of the Assembly, to mark the International Year of the Nurse and the Midwife.

2020, as the International Year of the Nurse and the Midwife has been a critical year for millions of nurses and midwives.

The COVID 19 pandemic has exposed the underlying issues within healthcare systems, including shortages of nurses and midwives.

Critical mental health services disrupted by pandemic, says WHO

In its latest survey, the WHO found demand for mental health services was increasing as problems with bereavement, isolation, loss of income and fear mounted.

Mental health services in the region were chronically underfunded before the pandemic, it said, with less than 2 percent of national health budgets allocated to the sector.

But now, things had gotten worse, with most countries recording an increase in need and a severe disruption to what limited services are offered.

WHO reports record one-day rise in Covid cases

Europe reported 96,996 new cases, the highest total for the region ever recorded by the WHO.

Global deaths rose by 5514 to a total of 1.05 million.

The previous WHO record for new cases was 330,340 on 2 October. The agency reported a record 12,393 deaths on 17 April.

As a region, Europe is now reporting more cases than India, Brazil or the United States.

India reported 78,524 new cases, followed by Brazil at 41,906 and the United States with 38,904 new infections, according to the WHO, whose data lags the daily reports by each country.

Region’s leaders gather virtually to tackle COVID-19 and other health issues

 The seventy-first session of the WHO Regional Committee for the Western Pacific is being held online from 6 to 9 October 2020. On the opening day, WHO briefed countries on the COVID-19 situation in the Region and our work to support responses. Delegates shared updates on the current situation and needs.

Two million deaths 'very likely' even with vaccine, WHO warns

Dr Mike Ryan, the WHO's emergencies head, said the figure could be higher without concerted international action.

Almost one million people have died with Covid-19 worldwide since the disease first emerged in China late last year.

Virus infections continue to rise, with 32 million cases confirmed globally.

The start of a second surge of coronavirus infections has been seen in many countries in the northern hemisphere as winter approaches.

So far, the US, India and Brazil have confirmed the most cases, recording more than 15 million between them.