Coronavirus: WHO, UNICEF, others to procure 30 million test kits

WHO Director-General, Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus [Photo: Scrol.in]
WHO Director-General, Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus [Photo: Scrol.in]

The World Health Organisation(WHO) in collaboration with the United Nations Children Fund (UNICEF) and other partners will commence the shipment of 30 million test kits for coronavirus next week.

The Director-General, WHO, Tedros Ghebreyesus, on Monday said this at a press conference on Tuesday.

He said “WHO is working with the global fund agency and had placed orders for over 30 million test (kits) over the next four months.”

“The first shipments of these tests (kits) will begin next week, through the United Nations Supply Chain we have established with the World Food Programme and other partners,” he said.

“Working together with the Global Fund, we have now placed orders for 30 million tests over the next four months,” he said.

He said through April and May, the global agencies intend to ship almost 180 million surgical masks, 54 million N95 masks and more than three million protective goggles to countries that need them most.

He said ‘solidarity flights’ continue to ship lifesaving medical supplies across Africa to protect health workers.

“Over the past week, WHO has been working closely with the World Food Programme to deliver masks, goggles, test kits, face shields and other medical equipment to 40 countries,” he added.

Mr Ghebreyesus said this is part of the overarching drive to keep supply chains moving and ensure key supplies reach 120 priority countries.

More than 600 hospitals are now ready to enrol patients in WHO’s Solidarity Trial of drugs against the disease, he added.

‘Nothing hidden’

Responding to the accusations of hiding information about the advent of the deadly coronavirus that has killed thousands globally, he said nothing in WHO’s coronavirus response had been hidden from the U.S.

The comments appeared to be a rejoinder to U.S. President Donald Trump, who had criticised WHO’s handling of the pandemic, accusing it of promoting Chinese ‘disinformation’. Mr Trump suspended U.S. funding to WHO last week.

Reuters had reported that some 15 staff from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control (CDC) have been seconded to the U.N. agency since January, joining two U.S. government officials assigned long-term.

“Having U.S. CDC staff means there is nothing hidden from the U.S. from day one,” Mr Ghebreyesus said. “All countries get information immediately.”

The United States, the WHO’s biggest donor, now has the world’s largest fatalities of COVID-19.

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The WHO is leading the global fight against the virus, which has infected more than 2.4 million people and killed 165,000 since emerging in the Chinese city of Wuhan December last year.



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