PAHO Director Leads Media Briefing on Covid-19 in Region

by: - March 9, 2020
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Dr. Carissa F. Etienne, Director of the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO) and WHO Regional Director for the Americas, and the technical team held an information session on the rapidly evolving situation of COVID-19 in the Region of the Americas and PAHO’s response to this public health emergency of international concern on Friday 6 March.

As of 4 March, a total of 119 cases of COVID-19 have been confirmed in eight countries and two French overseas territories: Argentina (1), Brazil (2), Canada (33), Chile (1), Ecuador (7), Mexico (5), Dominican Republic (1), United States (66), Saint Barthelemy (1) and Saint Martin (2). The United States has also reported that 48 tested positive for COVID-19 among those repatriated from Wuhan, China (3) and the Diamond Princess cruise ship (45). A total of nine (9) deaths from COVID-19 have been reported from the Region of the Americas, all of them from Washington State, United State.

 Dr. Carissa F. Etienne, PAHO Director, was accompanied by Dr. Jarbas Barbosa, Assistant Director, and Dr. Ciro Ugarte, Director of Health Emergencies.


Key Points

  • Countries advised to contain cases, not overreact and prepare health sectors to save lives
  • Global alert raised to ‘very high’
  • Three case scenarios predicted
  • Not just spotlighting travellers as likely carriers
  • Health surveillance critical for management
  • Americas has best surveillance system and highest vaccine coverage for influenza
  • Weaker health systems carry higher risk of cases
  • 32 regional countries able to test
  • PAHO verification teams dispatched to countries with weaker health systems
  • Spotlight on migrant and internally displaced populations in region

Watch the conference here: