The World Health Organization (WHO) is a specialized agency of the United Nations (UN) that acts as a coordinating authority on international public health.
Public Health EmergencyEdit
On Saturday, 25 April, upon the advice of the Emergency Committee called under the rules of the International Health Regulations, the Director-General declared this event a Public Health Emergency of International Concern. This is a fairly "routine" measure, which frees up money and government agencies for specific health purposes. However, the WHO is not recommending any travel restrictions.
The WHO runs a Pandemic Alert Level service. (Click link to see a full chart).
On 29th April, the WHO raised the alert level to 5 on the six-point scale. Phase 5 (Widespread Human Infection) means human-to-human transmission in at least two countries. Phase 6 is a global pandemic proper.
Before the alert level was raised from 3 to 4, the WHO advised that "all countries intensify surveillance for unusual outbreaks of influenza-like illness and severe pneumonia". When it was raised to level 5, WHO Director General Margaret Chan urged all countries to activate their pandemic plans, including heightened surveillance and infection-control measures.
Individuals are advised to wash hands thoroughly with soap and water on a regular basis and should seek medical attention if they develop any symptoms of influenza-like illness.
The WHO advises no restriction of regular travel or closure of borders. It is considered prudent for people who are ill to delay international travel and for people developing symptoms following international travel to seek medical attention, in line with guidance from national authorities.
According to La Journada (translation), the WHO has access to 3 million packs of Tamiflu, currently stored in the United States and Switzerland, should they prove to be effective and the WHO chooses to distribute the reserves. The WHO has apparently not yet sent viral samples to labs to begin the lengthy process of developing a new vaccine.
WHO news feedsEdit