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News in Brief 26 February 2020

News in Brief 26 February 2020

This is the News in Brief from the United Nations 

COVID-19: Not a pandemic, but ‘no time for complacency’, says WHO chief 

With the coronavirus disease epidemic rapidly evolving, ‘this is no time for complacency’, the head of the World Health Organization (WHO) said on Wednesday. 

Speaking in Geneva during his weekly briefing on COVID-19, WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus called for continued vigilance, stressing that the virus can be contained. 

He reported that for the first time, the number of new cases outside China has exceeded the number of new cases there. 

Latest figures showed 2,790 cases in 37 countries, and 44 deaths, as of Tuesday. 

While the news has prompted some media and politicians to push for a pandemic to be declared, the UN health agency chief cautioned against this for now. 

Tedros stressed that he was not downplaying the seriousness of the situation as it has the potential to be a pandemic. 

COVID-19: UN agencies say cooperation is key in tourism sector’s response  

Meanwhile, WHO and the UN World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) have underscored their joint commitment in guiding the travel and tourism sectors’ response to coronavirus disease, pointing out that “cooperation is key”. 

In a statement issued on Wednesday, they said the tourism industry’s response to COVID-19 “needs to be measured and consistent, proportionate to the public health threat and based on local risk assessment” and involve every part of the sector. 

The two UN agencies are working closely with partners to assist countries in ensuring that health measures are implemented in ways that minimize unnecessary interference with international traffic and trade. 

Venezuela hyperinflation affecting food access: WFP 

Hyperinflation in Venezuela is affecting people’s ability to buy food and other basic needs, the World Food Programme (WFP) has reported. 

A WFP study found roughly one-third of the population in the South American country – or just over nine million people – do not get enough to eat and are in need of assistance. 

The UN agency collected data countrywide, analyzing food consumption patterns, food and livelihood coping strategies, and economic vulnerability.    

WFP said the level of food consumption is “unacceptable" in 18 per cent of households, while lack of variety in the items they can afford to eat means people are not getting adequate nutrition. 

Furthermore, nearly 75 per cent of families surveyed have reduced the variety and quality of food they consume, among other coping strategies. 

Dianne Penn, UN News. 




-  WHO chief: ‘No time for complacency’ on coronavirus disease
-  UN health and tourism agencies cooperate on COVID-19 response
- Hyperinflation affecting food access in Venezuela: WFP

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Dianne Penn, UN News
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