Mar 13, 2020

World Health Organization COVID-19 Update March 13, 2020

World Health Organization COVID-19 Update March 13
RevBlogTranscriptsCOVID-19 Briefing & Press Conference TranscriptsWorld Health Organization COVID-19 Update March 13, 2020

The WHO held another coronavirus update briefing today, their first since declaring COVID-19 a global pandemic. Read the full transcript of the WHO comments and statements.

Tarik: (00:19)
Good afternoon, everyone, from Geneva, from headquarters of the World Health Organization. My name is [Tarik 00:00:23]. We are here for our regular press conference on COVID-19. Today’s a little bit special because we don’t have a journalist here in the room. And this is because WHO is conducting a simulation on teleworking today, so we don’t know whether the situation will continue next week or we will have journalists back in the room. We will inform you on that. But right now we will be joined by journalists who are online watching us through Zoom. And they can ask questions, actually raise hands. And those who are dialing in, and they can press star nine.

Tarik: (01:03)
We have also a couple of guests today that I would like to acknowledge and who may be asked to also help us with a topic that we will discuss. We have here in the room Dr. Gaudenz Silberschmidt, who is the WHO Director for Health and Multilateral Partnerships. And we have online and we are welcoming at least the Elizabeth Cousens, who the president and CEO of United Nations Foundation. We have Kate Dotson, who is the vice president working on global health within the UNF. And then we have calling from Switzerland, Etienne Eichenberger, who is the president of Swiss Philanthropy Foundation. And we also have project manager Irina [Schlossinger 00:01:47]. So I welcome all of them for today’s press briefing. And we may hear from them before. I give a floor to Dr. Tedros for his opening remarks, just to remind everyone that we will have a audio file available immediately, and transcript hopefully tomorrow. So I’ll give the floor to Dr. Tedros.

Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus: (02:09)
Thank you. Thank you, [Tarik 00:02:10]. And good afternoon, everyone. I want to start today by acknowledging that even though COVID19 has captured the world’s attention, there are still many other health issues people continue to face every single day, and that WHO is continuing to work on. Babies are still being born. Essential surgery is continuing. People still need emergency care after road traffic crash. People still need treatment for cancer, diabetes, HIV, malaria, and many other diseases. And for all of this, we need health workers. Today, I want to send a personal and sincere thank you to every health worker around the world, especially nurses and midwives, who we are celebrating this year through the International Year of the Nurse and the Midwife.

Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus: (03:19)
You do a heroic job. We know that this crisis is putting a huge burden on you and your families. We know you’re stretched to the limit. You have our admiration, our respect, and our commitment to doing everything we can to keep you safe and enable you to do your job. More than 132,000 cases of COVID-19 have now been reported to WHO from 123 countries and territories. 5,000 people have lost their lives, a tragic milestone. Europe has now become the epicenter of the pandemic, with more reported cases and diagnoses the rest of the world combined, apart from China. More cases are now being reported every day than were reported in China at the height of its epidemic. I would repeat this one, more cases are now being reported every day than were reported in China at the height of its epidemic.

Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus: (04:41)
We’re encouraged that many countries are now acting on the eight pillars of WHO’s strategic preparedness and response plan. Most countries now have a national plan. Most are taking a multi-sectoral approach, and most have laboratory testing capacity. WHO has evidence-based guidance that every country can use, according to each of the eight pillars. And we’re continuing to support countries to prepare and respond. We have shipped supplies of personal protective equipment to 56 countries, and we are shipping to a further 28 countries. And we have sent almost 1.5 million diagnostic tests to 120 countries. Our message to countries continues to be you must take a comprehensive approach. Not testing alone, not contact tracing alone, not quarantine alone, not social distancing alone, do it all. Any country that looks at the experience of other countries with large epidemics and thinks, “That won’t happen to us,” is making a deadly mistake. It can happen to any country. The experience of China, the Republic of Korea, Singapore, and others clearly demonstrates that aggressive testing and contact tracing combined with social distancing measures and community mobilization can prevent infections and save lives.

Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus: (06:32)
Japan is also demonstrating that a whole of government approach led by Prime Minister Abe himself supported by in-depth investigation of clusters is a critical step in reducing transmission. WHO has clear advice for governments, businesses, and individuals. First, prepare and be ready. Every person must know the signs and symptoms and how to protect themselves and others. Every health worker should be able to recognize this disease, provide care, and know what to do with their patients. Every health facility should be ready to cope with large numbers of patients and ensure the safety of staff and patients. Second, detect, protect, and treat. You can’t fight a virus if you don’t know where it is. Find, isolate, test, and treat every case to break the chains of transmission. Every case we find and treat limits the expansion of the disease.

Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus: (07:53)
Third, reduce transmission. Not just let this fire burn. Isolate the sick and quarantine their contacts. In addition, measures that increase social distancing, such as canceling sporting events, may help to reduce transmission. These measures of course should be based on local context and risk assessment and should it be time limited. Even if you cannot stop transmission, you can slow it down and save lives. And fourth, innovate and learn. This is a new virus and a new situation. We’re all learning and we must all find new ways to prevent infections, save lives, and minimize impact. All countries have lessons to share. There are simple, effective things we can all do to reduce the risk of infection for ourselves and those around us. Clean our hands regularly with an alcohol-based drop, or soap and water. Cover your mouth and nose with your elbow if you cough or sneeze. Stay home if you’re sick. Avoid unnecessary travel and large social gatherings. Comply with the advice of your local or national health authority. Find and share reliable information.

Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus: (09:27)
And finally, you can give. Together with the United Nations Foundation and the Swiss Philanthropy Foundation, WHO is today launching the COVID-19 Solidarity Response Fund to enable individuals and organizations to contribute. Until now we have been relying mainly on governments to support the response. We thank all those countries who have supported WHO’S strategic preparedness and response plan, including Japan, which this week contributed $155 million US. Now everyone can contribute. Funds raised will be used to coordinate the response, to buy masks, gloves, gowns, and goggles for health workers, to buy diagnostic tests, to improve surveillance, and to invest in research and development. To give to the COVID-19 Solidarity Response Fund, go to and look for the orange donate button at the top of the page. We thank Google, Facebook, and the individuals who have already contributed. Every dollar donated is a dollar toward the saving lives. We are all in this together. I thank you.

Tarik: (11:02)
Thank you very much, Dr. Tedros. As we speak, the press release on the launch of the COVID-19 Solidarity Response Fund is being sent to you. Just to remind everyone that this press briefing is being broadcast on various platforms from our side, WHO Facebook, WHO Twitter account, WHO YouTube channel, as well as on LinkedIn. So we will start with the questions from journalists who are listening us who have either dialed in or who are watching us through Zoom. So we will start with [Angelie 00:11:43] from Yahoo Finances. Angelie, can you hear us please?

Angelie: (11:47)
I can indeed. Can you hear me?

Tarik: (11:49)
Yes, please go ahead.

Angelie: (11:51)
Great. Thanks so much. I just wanted to know in terms of the social distancing techniques that are being used and implemented, there’s been some criticisms of them being put in place. So I just wanted to know really right now how do we view that, as opposed to the testing? Because we know that in the US there’s been some issues over that.

Dr. Michael Ryan: (12:16)
Yes, I mean, social distinction is a tried and tested method in slowing down the pace of epidemic spread. And certainly in the cases of previous influenza pandemics, social distancing has been used to some effect in slowing down the spread. Social distancing is based on a principle that you don’t know who’s infected and you’re separating, putting social distance between, everyone. We’ve said again and again, many countries are not in that situation yet. Many countries are in a situation where the disease is recognizable, cases can be detected, contacts can be identified, quarantined. And it is a more cost-effective intervention to separate some individuals from society than separates everybody in society from each other.

Dr. Michael Ryan: (13:10)
However, where there is not a good handle, where there hasn’t been a good understanding of disease transmission, where enough has not been invested in core public health intervention such as case finding and contact tracing, then social distancing measures maybe your only option to create distance between individuals. But as we’ve said in previous press conferences, they are very costly interventions in terms of societal acceptance, they’re very costly in economic terms, and they have to be used in a time-limited fashion with a specific purpose of slowing down infection enough to protect the health system. And I think this is the difference. We often in public health, we use case finding and contact tracing to go after the virus, to stop, to interrupt, to push back. That’s the purpose of those public measures. The purpose of social distancing is only to slightly slow down the virus so your health system can cope. The objectives are different.

Dr. Michael J. Ryan: (14:03)
Break, they’re not going to stop this pandemic purely in their own right. And if countries want to really turn this around for those countries that are in a position to do that and it’s been clearly demonstrated in other places, then investing back in a measured comprehensive strategy as Dr. Tedros has referred to it so many times of trying to still do the kind of case finding, contact tracing, isolation to push the virus back.

Dr. Michael J. Ryan: (14:27)
That is not to say that certain social distancing measures will not have a positive impact but they come at a cost and must be considered as Dr. Tedros has said in the local context. And there’s a local context that is both in public health terms but also in societal acceptance terms. A society may accept social distancing in one part of the world and they may reject it in another. And governments have to balance those genuine dilemmas around social and community acceptance.

Dr. Van Kerkhove: (14:56)
If I can just compliment that.

Dr. Van Kerkhove: (14:58)
In addition to what Mike has said, he mentioned this comprehensive package of measures and the DG has said this repeatedly, so social distancing is one aspect that we have been promoting here, but this is in addition to a lot of other measures that we have also been promoting, which include case and contact finding, aggressive case and contact finding and testing. Testing needs to be appropriate in each country to ensure that we know who are cases and who are not cases.

Dr. Van Kerkhove: (15:26)
It also includes hand hygiene, washing your hands with soap and water, using an alcohol based rub, making sure that you also practice respiratory etiquette. You are sneezing into your elbow or coughing into your elbow. Making sure that we mobilize all of our population.

Dr. Van Kerkhove: (15:44)
It is very important that every single person on the planet knows what the signs and symptoms of COVID-19 are. The signs and symptoms of COVID-19 and is not sneezing and having a runny nose. It’s a fever. It’s a dry cough. It’s aches and pains. It’s very important that we know those differences. Some people will also have difficulty breathing. And so knowing what the signs and symptoms are, knowing what your risk may be will help protect you and help protect your family.

Speaker 1: (16:15)
Thank you very much and just to remind journalists to ask one question at a time. So let’s try now with the [Banjo Cower 00:02:28] from India. Banjo, can you hear us? Thank you very much. So just to remind journalists just to ask one question. Hello.

Dr. Van Kerkhove: (16:36)
[crosstalk 00:16:36] Can you hear me?

Speaker 1: (16:36)
Yes, I can hear you now.

Banjo: (16:40)
[crosstalk 00:16:40] Okay, My question is India has blocked the travel for all foreign nationals coming from across the globe. [inaudible 00:00:16:59].

Dr. Michael J. Ryan: (16:55)
WHO has consistently said that each sovereign country must decide upon its own measures to protect its population. But we’ve also consistently said is that blanket travel measures in their own right will do nothing to protect an individual state. In fact, many countries who had outright traveled bans early in this response ended up reporting cases anyway and may have reacted later than they should have because they assumed travel restrictions would protect them.

Dr. Michael J. Ryan: (17:31)
So I think it’s very important that the main focus in this fight is not on anything other than the public health measures. Case detection, isolation, getting increasing number of tests done. People who know their status can protect others. It’s a little bit like the HIV epidemic. Until people could understand my status if I know I’m in fact that I can protect others.

Dr. Michael J. Ryan: (17:57)
So we need to move to that sort of a stance and investing in the capacity to do that. In fact, investing in the ability to treat cases effectively and give proper reassurance and community education and community mobilization as part of an overall comprehensive strategy. There is a place, particularly inside national borders for a potentially restricting movement between zones as we’ve seen in certain places. But there is rarely a justification for blanket bands unless of course the context and the risk defines that.

Dr. Michael J. Ryan: (18:36)
So it’s difficult for us to comment on the individual action of an individual nation. We would have to fully understand the risk assessment and the vulnerability assessment that was carried out in India.

Speaker 1: (18:53)
Thank you very much. So let’s try to get to NHK now. If we have someone otherwise, NPR, sorry. And then we’re going to get to NHK after that. Do we have anyone from NPR?

NPR: (19:11)
Hi. This is [Sting 00:19:16] can you hear me?

Speaker 1: (19:12)
Yes, please. Go ahead.

NPR: (19:15)
Hi, this is Sting Wong from National Public Radio. I wanted to ask about stigma. For Dr. [inaudible 00:00:19:23] and what can leaders do to reduce stigma in their communities and are there actually any examples of leaders [inaudible 00:19:31]?

Dr. Van Kerkhove: (19:35)
Start with them? Okay. I think there’s something every everyone can do to battle against stigma. To educate yourself about what this virus is, where it’s circulating. No one is at fault for getting infected with this virus. We need to help each other as best we can.

Dr. Van Kerkhove: (19:52)
We see many examples of countries helping each other within their own populations. Whether this is providing some support to families who have infected cases, providing support to families who have members who are in quarantine, providing support to healthcare workers who are working on the front line, bringing them groceries or helping them clean their homes.

Dr. Van Kerkhove: (20:16)
And we need to all stand up to stigma. We need to stand up to people who are pointing out that someone may be at fault for being from a certain country. This absolutely should not be tolerated in any form. And we do see many good examples of it and we need to make sure that we promote that. But everyone has a responsibility here to do the right thing and to help each other out during this difficult time.

Dr. Michael J. Ryan: (20:43)
If I could add, because there’s another word that goes with stigma and that is exclusion.

Dr. Michael J. Ryan: (20:49)
And there are two processes here. One is as Maria has very well explained the issue of stigma associated with the disease or profiling according to that. But there’s also something we need to avoid.

Dr. Michael J. Ryan: (20:59)
We’ve been speaking very much about those who are vulnerable in our societies. And that vulnerability is very important to deal with both. When we speak about that vulnerability, we cannot forget migrants. We cannot forget undocumented workers. We cannot forget prisoners in prisons. They may be serving a sentence, but they deserve no less protection under the law than others.

Dr. Michael J. Ryan: (21:23)
So when we talk about stigma, we also need to really look carefully at exclusion. We’re working very closely with the office of the high commissioner for human rights with the red cross movement. We were on the telephone this morning. We’ve been speaking about joint activities around issues like this. The director general has said many times we must leave no one behind. Because the only way to beat this is to leave no one behind.

Dr. Michael J. Ryan: (21:48)
So when we talk about stigma, we also need to avoid that, but we need to avoid exclusion as well. We’re in this together and I hope we can finish this together.

Speaker 1: (21:59)
Yes. [ inaudible]

Dr .Adhanom: (22:01)
I fully agree. And this is everyone’s business and nobody should be excluded. But the only thing I would like to add to this is, especially political leaders, religious leaders, community leaders have a special role to play here, to bridge and also to tell our followers to adhere to just basic morality, respecting others. And this virus is a common enemy. So I would expect and call upon all political leaders, religious leaders and community leaders to play a bigger role here.

Speaker 1: (22:41)
Thank you very much. So let’s try to move to [Karachi 00:22:46] in Pakistan Express Tribune. Do we have someone in line? Hello? Can you hear us please? Yes, please. Go ahead. Hello? Yes, we can hear you.

Speaker 2: (23:04)
Hi, I’m the [inaudible 00:23:09].

Speaker 1: (23:05)
Yes, we can hear you. Please go ahead.

Speaker 2: (23:12)
Hi, I’m [inaudible 00:23:13] from the Express Tribune.

Speaker 1: (23:16)
Okay, welcome please.

Speaker 2: (23:18)
My question is what does the ethical outlook in Pakistan look like [inaudible 00:09:30]?

Dr. Michael J. Ryan: (23:28)
Thank you very much. It’s difficult to predict the epidemiologic outlook in any country. I have personally worked in Pakistan on polio eradication for nearly three years and very much enjoyed my time working with some excellent Pakistani colleagues working on infectious disease control. Among them, Dr. [Ranasaftar 00:09:51]. so I think there’s a great capacity in Pakistan. There’s a great public health capacity, but there are also great challenges. You have a highly mobile population. You have great mega cities and you have many underserved people. So there is a great challenge facing Pakistan. But Pakistan has also demonstrated time and time again with dengue, with polio, with other diseases, how all of government, all of society approaches can be made to work.

Dr. Michael J. Ryan: (24:20)
So we wish Pakistan all the best luck in the world and all of our assistance and supporting some fine public health servants in your country.

Speaker 1: (24:32)
Thank you very much. I hope this answers your question on Pakistan. Now we go to Moscow to a Comic Sent FM and we have [Oleanna 00:24:42] Calling. Oleanna can you hear us?

Oleanna: (24:44)
Yes. Can you hear me?

Speaker 1: (24:46)
Yeah. Yes, please go ahead.

Oleanna: (24:48)
Well my questions are, when do you think the COVID-19 will peak in the world? I mean given that the vaccine has not yet been developed does WHO have any recommendations about drugs or medication so that can be effective in the treatment process?

Speaker 1: (25:05)
Thank you very much.

Dr. Van Kerkhove: (25:05)
So the first question is when will this peak in the world? It’s a very good question and I’m sure everyone has that on their mind. One thing we are not able to do is to predict what will happen. What we need to do is prepare for any scenario. And the trajectory of this pandemic, the trajectory of each epidemic in each country is dependent on the actions of each country.

Dr. Van Kerkhove: (25:28)
So what we have seen in several countries in Asia, we’ve seen them tackle this virus, be aggressive in their approach in terms of finding their cases and contacts and have this comprehensive approach that we’ve discussed previously, mobilizing their workforce, having an all of government, all of society approach. We’ve seen them turn the corner. So we’ve seen them have very strong, very bad epidemics and have them peak, hopefully that they’ve peaked. China has certainly peaked and there’s been a decline, but there’s always the chance that those cases can increase again. So we always have to be on the ready to look for any cases that pop up.

Dr. Van Kerkhove: (26:05)
With regards to the rest of the world. As I said, it will depend on how countries react to their first cases and if they have an aggressive approach to those first cases. For countries that are dealing with clusters of cases, it will depend on how they aggressively look for the chains of transmission within those clusterings of cases. Making sure that they identify every single case, every contact, separate the contacts, put them in quarantine.

Dr. Van Kerkhove: (26:33)
And for those countries that are dealing with much larger outbreaks and community transmission, making sure that there’s a much broader approach in terms of mobilizing their entire workforce to support the response to this. Making sure that their hospitals have the possibility to cope with increasing numbers of cases.

Dr. Van Kerkhove: (26:50)
But it’s impossible for us to say when this will peak globally. We hope that it is sooner rather than later. But again, we can’t emphasize enough that there have been countries that have demonstrated the ability to turn the tide to suppress transmission and it is in the hands of every country to be able to do that. So we are hoping that more countries put more aggressive efforts into doing so.

Dr. Michael J. Ryan: (27:14)
On the issue of drugs and vaccines, there are a large number of trials underway of therapeutic options and we will speak in more detail early next week. We are very excited with the level of solidarity and cooperation going on between member States, between scientific institutions who are putting together a global platform for being able to carry out these trials together, using the same approaches, using the same protocols, and sharing that data and being able to have a much more powerful opportunity to identify effective therapies. We will speak in much more detail on that next week.

Dr. Michael J. Ryan: (27:58)
Equally on the vaccine side, we’re working extremely closely with-

Dr. Michael J. Ryan: (28:02)
We’re working extremely closely with CEPI but also with GAVI and other institutions. And there is a major funding gap on that side as well. It’s not just for the operational response and supporting countries with weaker health systems. We have to move now to manage the risks and make the investments we need to develop vaccines going into the future. And we’re working very closely with our colleagues in CEPI. On that and the fund that’s been launched today will cover many aspects of that including investments in vaccine development through partner institutions like CEPI.

Speaker 1: (28:35)
Thank you very much. I will read one question that I received through SMS from DPA, German news agency, our friend Christiane Oelrich who’s asking for Dr. Tedros but maybe also for Mike. What are the biggest lesson the world can learn from Ebola outbreak in Congo in fighting the epidemic?

Dr. Michael J. Ryan: (29:10)
It’s difficult. Sometimes we over-extrapolate from one event to the other and sometimes we don’t learn enough lessons and we don’t adapt enough. I think what we’ve learned at Ebola outbreaks is you need to react quickly. You need to go after the virus. You need to stop the chains of transmission. You need to engage with communities very deeply. Community acceptance is hugely important. You need to be coordinated. You need to be coherent. You need to look at the other sectoral impacts, the schools and security and economic. So it’s essentially many of those same lessons.

Dr. Michael J. Ryan: (29:45)
But the lessons I’ve learned after so many Ebola outbreaks in my career are be fast. Have no regrets. You must be the first mover. The virus will always get you if you don’t move quickly. And you need to be prepared. And I say this, one of the great things in emergency response and anyone who’s involved in emergency response will know this. If you need to be right before you move, you will never win. Perfection is the enemy of the good when it comes to emergency management. Speed trumps perfection. And the problem in society we have at the moment is everyone is afraid of making a mistake. Everyone is afraid of the consequence of error, but the greatest error is not to move, the greatest error is to be paralyzed by the fear of failure. And I think that’s the single biggest lesson I’ve learned in Ebola responses in the past.

Speaker 1: (30:47)
We’ll move on and if we may try to get NHK this time around. NHK, can you hear us? I think it’s Shakai who is online. We don’t have NHK. Let’s move on. Chris, can we get Jeremy maybe who was online for some time now? Jeremy from Radio French International. And I would also, while we are waiting to get a journalist online, just to remind you that we have announced the allowance of COVID-19 Solidarity Response Fund. And we have colleagues online who can speak about that. So we should really try to use them and ask questions about the fund itself. But again, it’s a press conference and journalists can ask questions they want. Do we have Jeremy online? Jeremy?

Jeremy: (31:54)
Yeah, can you hear me?

Speaker 1: (31:55)
Yes, Jeremy. Please go ahead.

Jeremy: (31:57)
Okay. And forgive me because I have my kid right next to me. So you might hear her already. I won’t try today again to ask you who’s doing poorly in Europe? Because I know that people want to talk too much about member states, but can I try and ask you who’s doing good in Europe regarding containment versus mitigation measures? And then I can try to get by myself who’s doing poorly then.

Dr. Michael J. Ryan: (32:29)
Good. Yeah. I think you’ve just answered my previous question. We are not seeking to identify those who do poorly or do well. We’re trying to identify the best lessons we can all use, the best way to move forward together. No one has done perfectly and no one has made all the mistakes. We share all of the errors together. So we will share failure in the same way we will share success. So if one person makes an error in a team, do you blame the person or the team? Are we a team at global level? We are. Are we a team at national level? We should be. Are we a team at community level? We should be. So we won’t break from that. If we have tough discussions, we will have them directly with our member states and with those governments.

Dr. Van Kerkhove: (33:15)
If I can add something, I’m not going to answer that direct question, but I want to say something that if there are countries that are starting to identify cases and starting to identify large numbers of cases because they’re looking, because they’re doing aggressive case and contact finding, they shouldn’t be punished from that. It’s really important that we support countries in doing the right measures and sometimes that’s going to mean that case numbers are going to increase. And in many countries, it’s going to get worse before it gets better. And so, I just urge everyone to take caution with that and that these numbers are going to increase. So please look for cases, please do testing and find those cases and so we can turn the tide.

Dr. Michael J. Ryan: (33:59)
And if you want to evaluate any institution or governmental approach, ask the questions the director general asked. Does every member of society know what to do? Does every member of society informed? Is every health worker protected? Is every health worker know this disease and knows what to do? If you can answer those questions as a government, as an institution, as a community, then you’re on the right track. If you answer no to any of those questions, you’re not ready or you’re not doing enough yet to be ready. So I would point you back to the text of Tedros’ speech.

Speaker 1: (34:31)
The text will be shared with the audio file in a couple of minutes after we finish the briefing. And we will finish soon. We have time for two more questions. We will start with Joanna from Meetings Today. We didn’t have anyone from Meetings Today before, so Joanna, welcome. Can you hear us?

Joanna: (34:51)
Yes, thank you. I appreciate it. Thank you for letting me ask this question. I’m in the meetings and hospitality industry. We have obviously been hit very hard. I took the chance and traveled to speak at a conference in the Pacific Northwest in the US. My question is we know that sports stars and other stars and government officials are reporting when they’ve had contact with others and asking hotels and airlines in the United States what their process is in order to have anyone who finds out that they have been diagnosed with COVID-19 to report back to the airline, the hotel, the organization. To the best of my knowledge, nothing is in place. What should be done? And that’s, Maria, this goes back a bit to your response about IDing contacts.

Dr. Michael J. Ryan: (35:45)
I’ll take the first part and Maria will follow up on the direct technical side. If the strategy is about case finding and contact tracing and truly focused on containment, then any institution that was in the pathway of that person should be informed because there are potentially other contacts in that circumstance. So no question in that regard. In a mitigation strategy, nobody is … Very often people stop looking for those direct contacts and direct individual risks. So therefore, it’s very difficult to go back to each institution when you have a new case in a hospital. There’s no public health authority mandated, funded, or tasked with going back, finding out where that person might have been. So it really depends on what the strategy of each individual government is.

Dr. Michael J. Ryan: (36:31)
On a more general level, we work very closely with the World Tourism Organization, with the Civil Aviation Organization, with the International Air Transport Association, and so many others in trying to come up with common guidelines and common technical inputs for all of our partners in the hospitality and travel industry. And we do feel for your industry in particular in terms of the impacts it’s had on you. We thank you for your participation, your cooperation, and for the sacrifices you’re making to help cope with this pandemic. And we certainly will work harder and especially in those contexts where it is possible to ask governments to share more risk information with your institutions.

Dr. Van Kerkhove: (37:18)
Only to add to that that there does need to be a process in place to identify contacts of confirmed cases. And in many situations, in many cities and many governments, there is a process in place. If you haven’t been contacted as a known contact of a confirmed case, contact your local department of health. Contact your local ministry or your GP and say, “I believe I’m a contact. What should I do?”

Transcribe Your Own Content

Try Rev and save time transcribing, captioning, and subtitling.