Editorial: Big battle

The World Health Organisation (WHO) Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said that the COVID-19 outbreak still constitutes a Public Health Emergency of International Concern (PHEIC).

Tedros declared a PHEIC, WHO’s highest level of alarm, over the novel coronavirus outbreak on 30 January, when there were 82 cases outside China. Later the disease caused by the virus was named COVID-19.

Under the International Health Regulations, the WHO Director-General has the authority to determine that an outbreak constitutes a PHEIC when certain conditions are met, and the decision should be reviewed every three months. “WHO will continue supporting all countries with technical and logistical support, especially those that need it most,” Tedros said.

Governments will need to restart the global economy. And that will require international cooperation in several key areas. The first crucial element of a COVID-19 exit strategy is massive testing (for both infection and immunity), so that healthy people can return to work and those who are infected can get appropriate treatment. For this, countries will need adequate supplies of testing kits and protective equipment, as well as ventilators and access to emerging treatments.


NT Bureau