World Health Organization - updates

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WHO raises global virus risk to maximum level

Feb 28, 2020 - 11:44 PM

(UPDATED) The virus' rapid spread to new zones has authorities concerned – in the past 24 hours, it has affected 9 new countries, from Azerbaijan to Mexico to New Zealand

'VERY HIGH.' World Health Organization Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus gives a press conference on the situation regarding the COVID-19 at Geneva's WHO headquarters on February 24, 2020. File photo by Fabrice Coffrini/AFP

WHO: 9 countries, including PH, show coronavirus 'can be contained'

Feb 28, 2020 - 12:56 PM

DOH Secretary Francisco Duque III says the Philippines draws inspiration from the WHO citation but will stay vigilant against the novel corinavirus

PROTECTION. Metro Manila commuters wear face masks as protection from the coronavirus on February 3, 2020. Photo by Jire Carreon/Rappler

WHO says virus at 'decisive point' as world battles spread

Feb 28, 2020 - 8:03 AM

It's feared that poor countries with weak health infrastructures will not be able to cope

ARRIVAL. A passenger looks on while wearing a protective mask at the arrival hall of Ben Gurion International Airport, near Tel Aviv, on February 27, 2020. Photo by Jack Guez/AFP

Scramble to contain coronavirus as infections spread in Europe

Feb 26, 2020 - 11:17 PM

New cases linked to Italy have emerged in several countries in Europe and beyond, amid warnings from health experts that nations are not ready to contain a global outbreak

World 'simply not ready' for virus spread – WHO China mission chief

Feb 26, 2020 - 9:16 AM

'How many countries are planning hospital beds, planning ventilators...and the lab capacity to be able to manage this?' asks WHO's China mission chief

NO MASK, NO ENTRY. A sign reading 'No mask, No Entry' is placed at the entrance of San Lazaro Hospital in Manila. Photo by Inoue Jaena/Rappler

Coronavirus monitoring systems strained to the extreme

Feb 26, 2020 - 9:05 AM

At some point, national health authorities may have to switch from blocking the virus' progress to coping with its effects

TESTS. Lab technicians test patient samples for the novel coronavirus at the Center for Emerging Infectious Diseases of Thailand. Photo by Lillian Suwanrumpha/AFP

Spread of coronavirus confirms WHO fears, say experts

Feb 24, 2020 - 9:42 AM

WHO chief Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus has already sounded the alarm, saying the window to stem the virus is shrinking

FLIGHT. Passengers wearing masks prepare to disembark from a Hong Kong-Bangkok flight on January 23, 2020. Photo by Vivek Prakash/AFP

WHO declares 'progress' in fight against novel coronavirus

Feb 19, 2020 - 11:21 PM

'We are making tremendous progress in a short period of time...trends are very encouraging but we are not at a turning point yet,' a World Health Organization says

DISCHARGED. A recovered patient (C in wheelchair), 83, is discharged from Leishenshan Hospital, the newly-built makeshift hospital for novel coronavirus patients, in Wuhan in China's central Hubei province on February 18, 2020. AFP photo

Every child under 'immediate threat' from climate, poor diet – U.N.

Feb 19, 2020 - 1:23 PM

Not one country on Earth is adequately protecting the next generation from the impacts of carbon emissions, the destruction of nature and high-calorie and processed foods

Yemeni school children attend an open-air class under a tree near their unfinished school on September 16, 2019 in the southwestern Yemeni village of al-Kashar in Taez governorate's Mashraa and Hadnan district at the start of the new academic year in the war-battered country. - The classes are given in a field outside the school which was under construction but was never completed when funding was stopped due to the war that broke out in Yemen in 2015. According to the UN, two million of the country's seven million children of school age go without education in Yemen. More than 2,500 schools are out of use across Yemen, of which two thirds have been damaged in attacks, 27 percent closed and seven percent used by the military or as shelters for displaced people. (Photo by Ahmad AL-BASHA / AFP)

New China virus cases drop for third day as toll passes 1,600

Feb 16, 2020 - 8:27 AM

(4th UPDATE) The World Health Organization chief warns, however, that it is 'impossible to predict which direction this epidemic will take'

COVID-19 PREVENTION. A couple wears face masks as a preventative measure against the COVID-19 coronavirus, as they walk along the promenade in Tsim Sha Tsui of Hong Kong on February 14, 2020. Photo by Philip Fong/AFP

No major change in 'trajectory' of coronavirus outbreak – WHO

Feb 14, 2020 - 12:00 AM

'This increase that you've all seen in the last 24 hours is largely, in part, down to a change in how the cases are being reported,' says Michael Ryan, head of WHO's health emergencies program

NEW CASES. Medical personnel wearing protective suits stay near a block's entrance on the grounds of a residential estate in Hong Kong, early on February 11, 2020, after two people in the block were confirmed to have contracted the new coronavirus, according to local newspaper reports. File photo by Anthony Wallace/AFP

WHO extends emergency status of Ebola in DR Congo

Feb 13, 2020 - 8:53 AM

This is the second worst outbreak of the disease since 2014 when it killed about 11,000 people

SUITS. In this file photo taken on March 9, 2019 health workers are seen inside the 'red zone' of an Ebola treatment center, which was attacked in the early hours of the morning in Butembo. Photo by John Wessels/AFP

WHO says 'way too early' to predict end of novel coronavirus

Feb 13, 2020 - 8:19 AM

'I think we will find a vaccine. It will take some time. A vaccine cannot be made overnight,' WHO's chief scientist Soumya Swaminathan says

FACES. Commuters wearing face masks ride a metro train in Tokyo on February 8, 2020. Photo by Charly Triballeau/AFP

[ANALYSIS] Time to prepare for possibility of wider coronavirus transmission in PH

Feb 12, 2020 - 1:44 PM

'I understand why people are worried, as this is a new disease and there is much we still don’t know. The best thing we can do is to be prepared.'

WHO names disease caused by novel coronavirus as ‘COVID-19’

Feb 11, 2020 - 11:22 PM

WHO chief Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus says he sees a 'realistic chance' of stopping the outbreak

COVID-19. A woman walks past a banner blocking the entrance to a path, part of efforts to prevent the spread of the novel coronavirus, in Heishanzhai village, north of Beijing on February 7, 2020. File photo by Greg Baker/AFP

WHO warns of 'very grave' global virus threat

Feb 11, 2020 - 6:46 PM

About 400 scientists are taking part in the two-day international meeting in Geneva which will review how the virus is transmitted and possible vaccines against it

'GRAVE THREAT.' World Health Organization Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus leaves at the end of the press briefing on evolution of new coronavirus epidemic on January 29, 2020 in Geneva. File photo by Fabrice Coffrini/AFP

No evidence of airborne coronavirus transmission – WHO official

Feb 11, 2020 - 5:21 PM

The World Health Organization says that based on current evidence, the 2019 novel coronavirus is transmitted either via droplets or close contact

WHO OFFICIAL. Health Secretary Francisco Duque III and World Health Organization Rabindra Abeyasinghe confirm the first case of Novel Coronavirus in the country during press briefing in Manila on January 30, 2020. Photo by Inoue Jaena/Rappler

WHO warns overseas virus spread may be 'tip of the iceberg'

Feb 10, 2020 - 6:53 PM

While the spread of the virus outside China appears to be slow, World Health Organization head Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus warns it could accelerate

TALKING ABOUT THE VIRUS. World Health Organization (WHO) Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus speaks during a press conference following a WHO Emergency committee to discuss whether the Coronavirus outbreak that began in China constitutes an international health emergency, on January 30, 2020 in Geneva.  Photo by Fabrice Coffrini/AFP

Global shortage of anti-virus masks – WHO chief

Feb 07, 2020 - 7:50 PM

'The world is facing a chronic shortage of personal protective equipment,' Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus tells the WHO's executive board in Geneva

PROTECTION. Lab technicians register samples from potential victims of the novel coronavirus at the Centre for Emerging Infectious Diseases of Thailand at Chulalongkorn University in Bangkok on February 5, 2020. File photo by Lillian Suwanrumpha/AFP

WHO issues appeal for $675 million to fight novel coronavirus

Feb 05, 2020 - 11:43 PM

'Our message to the international community is invest today or pay more later,' says WHO chief Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus

APPEAL. Lab technicians test patient samples for the novel coronavirus at the Center for Emerging Infectious Diseases of Thailand at Chulalongkorn University in Bangkok on February 5, 2020. Photo by Lillian Suwanrumpha/AFP

World currently 'not in a pandemic' of China virus – WHO

Feb 04, 2020 - 8:36 PM

The World Health Organization says while there is rapid spread of transmission in Hubei, the cases outside the province are mainly 'spillover cases' with sporadic clusters of transmission

NOT IN PANDEMIC. This photo taken on February 3, 2020, shows a medical staff member disinfecting at a quarantine zone converted from a hotel in Wuhan, the epicenter of the new coronavirus outbreak, in China's central Hubei province. AFP photo

WHO reminder: Reserve face masks for coronavirus high-risk people, health workers

Feb 04, 2020 - 1:46 PM

World Health Organization country representative to the Philippines Rabindra Abeyasinghe says face masks, when used by infected people, protect those who are not infected

PERPETUAL HELP. People wear face mask while attending a mass at National Shrine of Our Mother of Perpetual Help or Baclaran Church in Paranaque City on February 02, 2020. Photo by Inoue Jaena/Rappler

WHO forecasts 81% cancer jump in poorer countries

Feb 04, 2020 - 11:26 AM

'Controlling cancer does not have to be expensive,' says the WHO's Andre Ilbawi

WHO launches campaign against China virus misinformation

Feb 03, 2020 - 7:10 PM

'We have worked with Google to make sure people searching for information about coronavirus see WHO information at the top of their search results,' the World Health Organization says

ON THE CORONAVIRUS. WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus (R), flanked by World Health Organization (WHO) Health Emergencies Program head Michael Ryan (L), speaks during a press conference on January 30, 2020 in Geneva. Photo by Fabrice Coffrini/AFP

Past international public health emergencies: What happened then?

Feb 01, 2020 - 12:16 AM

The novel coronavirus is the 6th public health emergency of international concern to be declared by the WHO. Previous emergencies include the outbreaks of swine flu, ebola, and zika virus.

Negros Oriental to put travelers from China in 14-day quarantine amid coronavirus threat

Feb 01, 2020 - 12:04 AM

Negros Oriental Governor Roel Degamo's order comes after the health department revealed that the Philippines' first confirmed case of the novel coronavirus has a travel history to Dumaguete City

Cebu’s water crisis threatens coronavirus prevention, says WHO

Jan 31, 2020 - 10:05 PM

The World Health Organization says water shortages affect the spread of the pathogenic organisms, such as bacteria and viruses

WELL. Residents of Mambaling, Cebu, try to draw water from a well during summer month. File photo by Paulo Andrada/Rappler

Closing borders could allow novel coronavirus to spread faster – WHO

Jan 31, 2020 - 8:54 PM

If you close official border crossings, you can 'lose track of people and cannot monitor (their movement) anymore,' says World Health Organization spokesman Christian Lindmeier

BORDERS. Myanmar health officers operate thermal scanner to check temperatures of people a entering the Myanmar-China border crossing checkpoint in Muse, Shan State on January 31, 2020. Photo by Phyo Maung Maung/AFP

FAST FACTS: What's next after novel coronavirus declared an int'l emergency?

Jan 31, 2020 - 12:22 PM

The declaration of an international emergency by the WHO emphasizes the importance of global solidarity and cooperation in the face of the coronavirus threat

WHO declares international emergency over novel coronavirus

Jan 31, 2020 - 3:48 AM

'Our greatest concern is the potential for the virus to spread to countries with weaker health systems.... This is not a vote of no confidence in China,' says WHO chief Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus

INTERNATIONAL EMERGENCY. World Health Organization Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus speaks during a press conference. The UN health agency declares an international emergency over the deadly novel coronavirus from China. Photo by Fabrice Coffrini/AFP

New coronavirus study places incubation period at around 5 days

Jan 30, 2020 - 9:16 AM

The Chinese team behind a paper published in the New England Journal of Medicine says their findings support a 14-day medical observation period for people exposed to the pathogen

TEMP CHECK. This photo taken on January 26, 2020 shows a medical staff member checking the temperature of a driver at a highway check point in Tengzhou in China's eastern Shandong province. Photo by STR/AFP

WHO calls world to action on China virus ahead of crisis talks

Jan 30, 2020 - 7:25 AM

The virus has infected more than 6,000 people so far

ISOLATION. Nurses wearing protective gear work in an isolation ward at a government-run Fever Hospital in Hyderabad, on January 28, 2020. Photo by Noah Seelam/AFP

Xi says China fighting 'demon' virus as contagion spreads abroad

Jan 29, 2020 - 12:12 AM

Chinese President Xi Jinping pledges his government will be transparent and release information on the novel coronavirus in a 'timely' manner

MEETING. World Health Organization Director General Tedros Adhanom (L) shakes hands with Chinese President Xi Jinping before a meeting at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing on January 28, 2020. Photo by Naohiko Hatta/AFP

WHO still probing if China virus can spread before symptoms

Jan 28, 2020 - 8:22 AM

WHO stresses the importance of practicing so-called cough etiquette, including maintaining distance and covering coughs and sneezes with tissues

WAITING. Passengers wearing protective facemasks to help stop the spread of a deadly SARS-like virus which originated in the central city of Wuhan arrive at Beijing railway station in Beijing on January 24, 2020. Photo by Noel Celis/AFP

China locks down cities to curb virus, but WHO says no global emergency

Jan 24, 2020 - 2:40 AM

(UPDATED) 'We are feeling as though it is the end of the world,' says one Wuhan resident on China's Twitter-like Weibo platform, voicing concerns about shortages of food and disinfectant

NOVEL CORONAVIRUS. Medical personnel wearing protective suits interact with two patients (R on bed and standing) tested positive to the coronavirus in an isolation room at Cho Ray hospital in Ho Chi Minh City on January 23, 2020. File photo by STR/Vietnam News Agency/AFP

Last flight from Wuhan: 'Everyone was wearing masks'

Jan 23, 2020 - 1:45 PM

'They suggested (that) everyone wear their masks, and actually everyone (already) wear their masks ... even the flight crew,' says a passenger of one of the last flights out of Wuhan

A China Eastern Airlines aircrew member arrives at Sydney airport after landing on a plane from the Chinese city of Wuhan on January 23, 2020. One of the last flights out of the epidemic-hit Chinese city of Wuhan was met by biosecurity officials on its arrival in Sydney but no ill passengers were found, health officials said. PETER PARKS / AFP

'No doubt' e-cigarettes harmful – WHO

Jan 23, 2020 - 9:17 AM

The WHO warns that vaping can damage growing fetuses and impact teenagers' brains

SMOKE. Demonstrator vapes during a rally outside of the White House to protest the proposed vaping flavor ban in Washington DC on November 9, 2019. Photo by Jose Luis Magana/AFP

Virus exposes Beijing campaign to isolate Taiwan on global bodies

Jan 22, 2020 - 6:29 PM

Modern Taiwan has been a de facto sovereign nation for the last 7 decades and has emerged as one of Asia's most progressive democracies but is quarantined on the world stage

TAIWAN. Masked passengers arrive at the Sungshan Airport in Taipei on January 22, 2020. Photo by Sam Yeh/AFP

No smoking 4 weeks before operation cuts risks – WHO

Jan 21, 2020 - 8:57 AM

'Smoking just one cigarette decreases the body's ability to deliver necessary nutrients for healing after surgery,' says the study

How to stay safe during volcanic ashfall

Jan 12, 2020 - 9:49 PM

(UPDATED) The Department of Health warns of potential health effects as ashfall from Taal Volcano reaches Calabarzon and Metro Manila

HEALTH EFFECTS. Residents in Talisay, Batangas take shelter in themunicipal Hall, Batangaas late Suday, January 12, 2020. Photo by KD Madrilejos/Rappler

China believes new virus behind mystery pneumonia outbreak

Jan 09, 2020 - 10:56 AM

(3rd UPDATE) The World Health Organization confirms the preliminary discovery of a new coronavirus

FIGHTING EPIDEMICS. Workers are seen inside the P4 laboratory in Wuhan, capital of China's Hubei province on February 23, 2017. File photo by Johannes Eisele/AFP

Fears for infants in Samoa as measles deaths mount

Nov 28, 2019 - 5:16 PM

The Samoan government says the number of fatalities had climbed to 39 and the total number of infections was 2,936, up 250 in a 24-hour period

Measles kills more than 5,000 in DR Congo this year – WHO

Nov 28, 2019 - 11:50 AM

The World Health Organization says, the 'outbreak is the largest outbreak worldwide. It is one of the largest that we have seen.' As of November 17, the country had registered 250,270 measles cases, including 5,110 deaths.

OUTBREAK. A child reacts as he receives an injection during the nationwide vaccination campaign against measles, rubella and polio targeting all children under 15 years old in Nkozi town.  Photo by Badru Katumba/AFP

Get moving! 4 in 5 adolescents don't exercise enough – WHO

Nov 22, 2019 - 11:14 AM

In its first ever report on global trends for adolescent physical activity, the UN health agency stresses that urgent action is needed to get teens off their screens and moving more

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Strain of wild poliovirus eradicated – World Health Organization

Oct 24, 2019 - 5:53 PM

An independent panel, chaired by WHO chief Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, concludes the required criteria has been met to 'verify that this strain is truly gone,' the United Nations health agency says

POLIO FIGHT. Pakistani children shows her finger marked with ink on a fingertip that shows she received a polio vaccine at a school slum in Lahore, Pakistan, April 18, 2016. Photo from Shutterstock

PH needs to strengthen routine immunization system – WHO official

Oct 02, 2019 - 11:38 AM

WHO country representative Rabindra Abeyasinghe says that in the Philippines, nearly 3 of 5 kids under the age of 5 are not fully protected against polio.

STRENGTHEN IMMUNIZATION. World Health Organization representative to the Philippines Rabindra Abeyasinghe stresses the need to strengthen routine immunization systems amid concurrent outbreaks in the Philippines.

Rappler Talk: WHO's Rabindra Abeyasinghe on polio and health in the Philippines

Oct 01, 2019 - 4:46 PM

Rappler sits down with World Health Organization's Rabindra Abeyasinghe to talk about the return of polio in the Philippines, how the government and its partners are responding to it, and other health issues in the country

WHO, health orgs seek public participation in vaccination campaign

Sep 25, 2019 - 4:20 PM

Distribution planning and fighting disinformation are essential to helping the immunization campaign for the country, says a health panel

HIGH HOPES. WHO representative Rabindra Abeyasinghe says they are ‘convinced’ the Philippines can eradicate polio, since it has been done before. Photo by Michelle Abad/Rappler

Second Ebola vaccine to be introduced in DRC in mid-October – WHO

Sep 23, 2019 - 4:02 PM

(UPDATED) The announcement comes as the aid group Doctors Without Borders accuses the WHO of rationing the first Ebola vaccine in the Democatic Republic of the Congo

WHO accused of rationing Ebola vaccine in DR Congo

Sep 23, 2019 - 12:58 PM

'One of the main problems currently is the fact that in practice the vaccine is rationed by the WHO and that too few people at risk are protected today,' Doctors without Borders says