TODAY |

World Health Organization praises New Zealand's response to Covid-19 again

The head of the World Health Organization has warned the world needs to be better prepared for the next pandemic, and again highlighted New Zealand's response to the current global Covid-19 outbreak.

Your playlist will load after this ad

Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus again highlighted New Zealand’s response but urged countries to invest in public health. Source: Breakfast

"There are many other examples we could give, including Cambodia, Japan, New Zealand, the Republic of Korea, Rwanda, Senegal, Spain, Viet Nam and more," Director-General Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said overnight.

"Many of these countries have done well because they learned lessons from previous outbreaks of SARS, MERS, measles, polio, Ebola, flu and other diseases. 

Meet the team contact tracing Covid-19 cases in Auckland

"That’s why it’s vital that we all learn the lessons this pandemic is teaching us."

In May WHO Health Emergencies Programme executive director Dr Michael Ryan praised New Zealand for its "very systematic" response to Covid-19.

Adhanom Ghebreyesus went on to urge countries to invest in public health.

Covid-19 vaccine could be available in Australia early next year

"Public health is the foundation of social, economic and political stability. That means investing in population-based services for preventing, detecting and responding to disease.

"This will not be the last pandemic. History teaches us that outbreaks and pandemics are a fact of life. But when the next pandemic comes, the world must be ready – more ready than it was this time.

"In recent years, many countries have made enormous advances in medicine, but too many have neglected their basic public health systems, which are the foundation for responding to infectious disease outbreaks. 

Joe Biden's Covid-19 plans would 'destroy this country', Trump says

"Part of every country’s commitment to build back better must therefore be to invest in public health, as an investment in a healthier and safer future."

His warning today comes as India passed Brazil as the country with the second most Covid-19 cases.

Meanwhile, the head of emergencies at the World Health Organization said that governments that provide "politically motivated" information to their communities about the coronavirus pandemic could face a political backlash.

Dr Michael Ryan also called for transparency and "admission of error" when warranted by decision-makers.

Speaking in general terms after being asked about conflicting messages sent by Brazilian government over the response to Covid-19, he suggested people won't be fooled.

"People aren't looking for magical answers, and they're not looking for unicorns," he told reporters in Geneva. "They understand we all live in the real world, and in trying to present oversimplified, simplistic solutions for people is not a long-term strategy that wins with populations."

Ryan said messages about the Covid-19 situation sometimes come with "political overtones" and alluded to a saying that trust takes years to build but seconds to lose.

"If communities perceive that they're getting information that is being politically manipulated or that it has been managed in a way that is that is distorting evidence, then unfortunately that comes back to roost," he said.

Meanwhile at the press briefing, Maria Van Kerkhove, WHO's technical lead for Covid-19, said studies were ongoing to understand how long an immunity response lasted for in infected patients.

Kerkhove said there were examples of re-infections suggesting immunity could decline in some individual, but more research was needed.

"Out of more than 26 million cases, having some case reports of reinfection tells us that this is possible, but it doesn't tell us what's happening at a population level," she stressed.