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WHO Director-Normal’s opening remarks on the media briefing on COVID-19 – 10 July 2020 – World Well being Group

Good morning, good afternoon and good night.

Right this moment, WHO is launching the Entry Initiative for Quitting Tobacco, which goals to assist the world’s 1.three billion tobacco customers stop through the pandemic. 

This initiative will assist folks freely entry the assets they should stop tobacco, like nicotine substitute remedy and entry to a digital well being employee for recommendation.

Smoking kills eight million folks a 12 months, but when customers want extra motivation to kick the behavior, the pandemic offers the appropriate incentive. 

Proof reveals that people who smoke are extra weak than non-smokers to growing a extreme case of COVID-19.

The undertaking, is led by WHO, along with the UN Interagency Job Power on Non-communicable Ailments and brings collectively tech business, pharmaceutical, and NGO companions like PATH and the Coalition for Entry to NCD Medicines and Merchandise.  

We thank our first manufacturing companions Johnson & Johnson Shopper Well being, who donated almost 40,000 nicotine patches.

We’re additionally happy to introduce Florence, the world and WHO’s first-ever digital well being employee, based mostly on synthetic intelligence. 

Florence dispels myths round COVID-19 and tobacco and helps folks develop a customized plan to stop.   

Florence is obtainable 24/7 through video stream or textual content to assist folks entry dependable data.

Florence was created with expertise developed by San Francisco and New Zealand based mostly firm Soul Machines, with help from Amazon Net Providers and Google Cloud.  

WHO is within the last levels of including extra companions and encourages pharmaceutical and tech corporations to affix this initiative, which is able to assist folks scale back their danger of COVID-19 and lead more healthy lives. 

We are going to first launch the initiative in Jordan after which roll it out globally over the approaching months.

To inform you extra about this initiative, I would wish to introduce my sister Her Royal Highness Princess Dina of Jordan.

Princess Dina is a very long time buddy, the President of the Union for Worldwide Most cancers Management and a lifelong advocate for world tobacco management.

You’ve gotten the ground Princess Dina.                                


Thanks to each Princess Dina and Thibaut Mongon.

Thanks a lot my sister Princess Dina and likewise Thibaut, we actually respect your time

Now again to COVID-19, in the present day the world recorded 12 million instances.

Within the final six weeks instances have greater than doubled.

Throughout all walks of life, we’re all being examined to the restrict. For these in poverty, with little or no entry to high quality well being providers, it’s not solely COVID-19 that threatens lives and livelihoods.

Different ailments like measles, polio and malaria all thrive when immunization is paused and provide chains for medical provides are interrupted.

WHO continues to work with companions to make sure that the poorest and most marginalized are prioritized.  

Meaning restarting routine immunization and making certain that medical provides attain well being employees internationally.

There’s a whole lot of work nonetheless to be carried out.

From nations the place there’s exponential progress, to locations which can be loosening restrictions and now beginning to see instances rise. 

We’d like management, group participation and collective solidarity.

Solely aggressive motion mixed with nationwide unity and world solidarity can flip this pandemic round.

There are a lot of examples from world wide which have proven that even when the outbreak may be very intense, it could possibly nonetheless be introduced again underneath management.

And a few of these examples are Italy, Spain and South Korea, and even in Dharavi – a densely packed space within the megacity of Mumbai – a powerful give attention to group engagement and the fundamentals of testing, tracing, isolating and treating all these which can be sick is essential to breaking the chains of transmission and suppressing the virus.


As we proceed to deal with the pandemic, we’re additionally wanting into the origins of the virus.

Two WHO specialists are presently en path to China to satisfy with

fellow scientists and study concerning the progress made in understanding the animal reservoir for COVID-19 and the way the illness jumped between animals and people.

This can assist lay the bottom work for the WHO-led worldwide mission into the origins.


For all of the challenges that COVID-19 has triggered, it has additionally proven the way in which ahead for different challenges that threaten humanity. 

The disaster of rising antimicrobial resistance is a sluggish movement tsunami, the place regardless of the rise in resistant infections, the analysis and improvement of latest antibiotics has not caught up.

Except we take fast and sustained motion, we danger a doomsday world situation the place widespread accidents and diseases return to turn out to be main killers.

The AMR Motion Fund goals to deal with this by strengthening and accelerating the analysis and improvement of antibiotics by means of game-changing investments into biotechnology corporations world wide.

Whether or not it’s COVID-19 or AMR, the most effective shot we have now is to work collectively in nationwide unity and world solidarity.                                       

I thanks.

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