“We ask countries to adopt a four-pronged strategy.” This was stated by the director general of the World Health Organization (WHO), Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, during today’s mission briefing on Covid-19 .

“As you know – he recalled – yesterday I declared that the global Covid-19 epidemic can now be described as a pandemic. This is not a decision that we have taken lightly. We carried out this evaluation for two main reasons: first, to because of the speed and range of the transmission. Almost 125,000 cases have now been reported to WHO from 118 countries and territories. In the past two weeks, the number of cases reported outside of China has increased nearly 13 times and the number of countries affected has nearly tripled. The second reason is that despite our frequent warnings, we are deeply concerned that some countries are not facing this threat with the level of political commitment needed to control it.”

“I would like to be clear – he reiterates – describing the situation as a pandemic does not mean that countries should surrender. The idea that we must move from containment to mitigation is wrong and dangerous. On the contrary, we must redouble our efforts. This is a pandemic “controllable . Countries that decide to abandon key public health measures may end up with a bigger problem and a heavier burden on the health system, which requires stricter control measures.”

“First of all, get ready, be ready. There are still 77 countries and territories with no reported cases and 55 that reported less than 10 cases. And all countries with cases have areas that are not affected. You have the opportunity to keep the situation this way. therefore, it is necessary to prepare the personnel and the sanitary structures. Secondly, to detect, prevent and cure . You cannot fight a virus if you don’t know where it is, that means a solid surveillance to find, isolate, test and treat every case, to break the chains of the transmission. Third, reduce and suppress. To save lives, we need to reduce transmission. This means finding and isolating as many cases as possible and quarantining their closest contacts. Even if it is not possible to interrupt the transmission, it is possible to slow it down and protect healthcare facilities, homes for the elderly and other vital areas, but this can only happen if all suspicious cases occur “.

“And fourthly – highlights the DG – innovate and improve. This is a new virus and a new situation. We are all learning and we must all find new ways to prevent infections, save lives and minimise the impact. All countries have lessons to share. WHO works day and night to support all countries. We have shipped supplies of personal protective equipment to 57 countries, we are preparing to ship them to 28 others, and we have sent laboratory supplies to 120 countries. ” .

“Over $ 440 million has now been committed to the WHO’s strategic preparedness and response plan : we thank the countries that contributed, especially those that contributed with fully flexible funds. As this is a dynamic situation, we need the maximum flexibility to provide the best possible support,” said Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus