Communicating complex science in real time about a new virus is not always easy, but we believe it’s part of our duty to the world,” said WHO’s chief Tedros Ghebreyesus in a regular press briefing on the Covid-19 pandemic in Geneva on Wednesday, adding “we can always do better.”
“We welcome constructive debate – that’s how science advances,” said Tedros.
“Since early February, we have said that asymptomatic people can transmit COVID-19, but that we need more research to establish the extent of asymptomatic transmission. That research is ongoing, and we are seeing more and more research being done,” he said.
“Each and every country has a different combination of, risks and opportunities at this point. And it’s really down to national authorities to carefully consider where they are in the pandemic,” said WHO’s Health Emergencies Programme Executive Director Michael Ryan.
“By no means is this over. If we look at the numbers over the last number of weeks, this pandemic is still evolving. It is still growing in many parts of the world,” he said adding his “deep concerns that health systems in some countries are struggling and they’re under a huge strain and require our support and our help and our solidarity.”
WHO fully understands the reluctance of governments towards lockdowns, Ryan said but “there are many, many, many other things that can be done” to curb the spread of the virus.
“What we would like to see is the investments in those other things, particularly in investing at community level in community led surveillance, in early warning in quarantine, and then all of the other measures,” explained Ryan.
He also said that as we’re entering the Southern Hemisphere’s influenza season, the WHO has “no data to suggest that the virus will behave, more aggressively or transmit more efficiently, or not.”