Tag Archives: WHO


Tánaiste and Minister for Enterprise, Trade and Employment Leo Varadkar

This afternoon.

The Tánaiste said the Government’s new mandatory requirement of a PCR test is being met with a very high degree of compliance and fines are being issued for those who breach the rules.

He said the three main reasons for opposing mandatory quarantine were that it is “disproportionate”, because positive Covid-19 cases within the State were not quarantined; the EU’s stringent rules on the freedom of movement; and the fact that Ireland cannot control its border, ie with Northern Ireland, in the same way that other island states can…






WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus (left) with Chinese President Xi Jinping before a meeting at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing, China last January

This morning

The head of the World Health Organisation (WHO) says he is “very disappointed” China blocked the entry of its investigators.

Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus’ team had been due to investigate the origins of Covid-19 in the Chinese city of Wuhan.

Via Financial Times:

Beijing has barred the entry of a 10-member World Health Organization team investigating the origins of the coronavirus pandemic after their visas were not approved.

Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, WHO director-general, said on Tuesday that he was “very disappointed” after China blocked the arrival of the virologists.

“Two members [of the team] had already begun their journeys and others were not able to travel at the last minute,” Mr Tedros said.


China blocks WHO team sent to probe Covid’s origins (FT)



This afternoon.

The World Health Organisation (WHO) has urged Europeans to wear masks INDOORS during family gatherings at Christmas.

Via WHO:

“It may feel awkward to wear masks and practise physical distancing when around friends and family, but doing so contributes significantly to ensuring that everyone remains safe and healthy,”

“Vulnerable people and older friends or relatives may find it very difficult to ask loved ones to stay away physically, regardless of the anxieties or concerns they may have. Consider what others may be feeling and the difficult decisions they will be facing.”

Good times.

Covid-19: Europeans urged to wear masks for family Christmas (BBC)

Pic: AP

This afternoon.

In an update to its Covid-19 guidance on masks, The World Health Organisation (WHO) has recommended wearing face masks when indoors with other people ‘if the ventilation has been deemed inadequate’.

“WHO advises that the general public should wear a non-medical mask in indoor or outdoor settings where physical distancing of at least one metre cannot be maintained,” the new guidance says.

“If indoors, unless ventilation has been assessed to be adequate, WHO advises that the general public should wear a non-medical mask, regardless of whether physical distancing of at least one metre can be maintained.”


As for face shields, WHO said they “provide a level of eye protection only and should not be considered as an equivalent to masks” when it came to protection against respiratory droplets.

“If face shields are to be used, ensure proper design to cover the sides of the face and below the chin,” the guidance said.

WHO recommends masks indoors if ventilation poor (RTÉ)


“What we want to try to avoid – and sometimes it’s unavoidable and we accept that – but what we want to try and avoid is these massive lockdowns that are so punishing to communities, to society and to everything else.”

DR Mike Ryan, The World Health Organisation’s top emergencies expert speaking at a briefing in Geneva, Switzerland on Friday evening.



WHO says wants to avoid ‘punishing’ coronavirus lockdowns (Reuters)


This morning.



Dr Mike Ryan, Executive Director of the World Health Organization’s Emergencies Programme

Speaking on RTÉ’s Today with Claire Byrne, Dr Ryan said that although younger people may suffer a less severe version of the disease, it is not guaranteed that this will be the case and that there is always the risk of passing it to older populations.

If the disease is passed onto older generations again, he said, the hospitals will refill and “this is not something we want to see”.

Dr Ryan said it is not known yet about what kind of protection people will have if they contract the disease.


Ongoing shift of virus to younger adults – WHO expert Ryan (RTÉ)


Back in April.

Dr Ryan (@1.15) suggests entering homes and removing suspected Covid-19 patients.

Good times.



This evening.

Members of the World Health Organisation, including executive director Michael Ryan (top), hold a press conference, in which Mr Ryan said that all countries now need to reassess their “strategies” toward the coronavirus.

It follows the WHO declaring the Covid-19 outbreak a pandemic.

Coronavirus: First death confirmed in Ireland as WHO declares a pandemic (Paul Cullen, The Irish Times)

From Ireland V Italy game in Six Nations in 2013; and Dr Tony Holohan, Chief Medical officer at the Department of Health on RTÉ News last night

This morning.

Minister for Health Simon Harris is to meet representatives of the Irish Rugby Football Union after it sought “reasoning” behind Mr Harris’ call to cancel the Six Nations Ireland V Italy rugby game on March 7 because of a coronavirus outbreak in northern Italy.

Last night, the IRFU released a statement saying:

“The IRFU is seeking an urgent meeting with Minister Harris as to the specific reasoning behind calling for the cancellation of the Ireland V Italy Six Nations fixture in the context of the Government’s overall travel policy to and from Italy and other affected countries.

“Until such time as the IRFU has had contact with the Minister and gets an understanding of the government’s strategic policy on travel to and from Ireland and the cancellation of mass gatherings, it is not in a position to comment further.

It’s been reported there have been 90 suspected cases tested in Ireland but none have tested positive for the virus.

On RTÉ’s Morning Ireland, Jackie Fox spoke to Dr Tony Holohan, chief medical officer at the Department of Health and asked him if it would be possible for the game to be played “behind closed doors”.

Dr Holohan said that would be a matter for the IRFU.

Ms Fox also asked him about St Patrick’s Day.

From the interview…

Dr Tony Holohan: “This won’t be the only mass gathering that we will look at. But this was one that was coming quite soon and obviously involving an area in Europe that has been added to the list of countries that you’ve just outlined where community transmission is taking place and we felt we couldn’t make no other responsible advice or decision.”

Jackie Fox: ‘But there’s nothing to stop the 2,500 thousand Italian fans still travelling to Ireland. Should flights have been cancelled rather the game?”

Holohan: “No, we don’t think that would be a proportionate measure. The WHO is not recommending cancellation of, or restrictions on foreign travel. We make specific travel advisories available and in this country we do that through the Department of Foreign Affairs and their website there. And we make available information then through the points of entry to the country to raise awareness.

“And we’ll be stepping up that as part of the decision that was taken yesterday with more information and physical presence of HSE staff and more posturing and leaflets and so on at the airport. To raise awareness of the symptoms that could occur so if you’ve travelled back from one of the listed areas that you’ve set out which are Japan, Singpore, Hong Kong, South Korea, Iran, and one of the four regions, now identified in Northern Italy, which are Lombardy and Veneto, Friuli Venezia Giulia, Piemonte alongside mainland China.

“If you’ve come back from any of those regions in the last 14 days and experienced flu-like symptoms such as a cough, shortness of breath, breathing difficulties or a fever, you should stay at home, make contact with your GP and be guided by your GP from there. ”

Fox: “The IRFU are meeting with the minister today. If they choose not to take this advice, do authorities have the power to stop this fixture from going ahead?”

Holohan: “I think the IRFU is a responsible organisation and will be willing to work with us to ensure that a measure that we have advised like this which nobody wants to find ourselves in a position of having to to cancel or recommend not take place, I’m sure that they, as a responsible organisation, will be, just as we are, minded to act in the interests of the health and welfare, not only of their spectators but for their players.”

Fox: “But could they, for instance, play the game behind closed doors?”

Holohan: “Well, that will be a matter for them.”


Holohan: “It is an unfolding infection. We don’t know everything about it. We know that the pattern of severity in relation to it, based on the information about it out of China and other places that have experiencing significant number of cases can be severe, that in 20% of cases, approximately, people have a severe illness. And in a small percentage of cases but it would be substantially higher that is currently the case with ‘flu, unfortunately deaths are occurring at a rate of about 2%. But that is not insignificant and it would be nothing other than irresponsible of us if we weren’t to respond fully with the containment measures that we now have in place to try and limit the spread of that in the first instance and prepare ourselves fully in the event that we do have community transmission taking place in this country to minimise the impact on the population here.”

Fox: “Briefly, can I just ask you briefly about the next mass gathering that’s due here, on St Patrick’s Day. Are there plans or is that being looked at at the moment?”

Holohan: “Mass gatherings of all kinds take place all of the time as I’m sure you know from small meetings to large conferences and sporting and other fixtures. So as well as the decision that we recommended in relation to the rugby match, we’ve set up a process to enable anybody, any organiser of a mass gathering to get in touch and for us to consider, according to the guidelines I mentioned, the guidelines that would have informed our decision yesterday in relation to the match, to give that advice in relation to those mass gatherings.

It can be difficult to predict for something that’s a number of weeks away because we could find ourselves in a situation where other regions of the world are affected. Italy was not an area of concern for us a week ago and it’s now the reason why we’ve made this recommendation. So this is a fast-changing situation so it’s impossible to make a prediction now as to where we might be for a an event that could be, you know, five, six weeks, or more weeks away.”

Listen back in full here

Previously: La Forza De Destino 

From top (left to right) Dr Bela Ganatra and Dr Ronald Johnson, of the Department of Reproductive Health and Research in the World Health Organisation and Dr Abigail Aiken, Assistant Professor at LBJ School of Public Affairs, Texas; Dr Johnson, and Sinn Fein Senator Paul Gavan

This afternoon.

At a meeting of the Oireachtas Joint Committee on the Eighth Amendment of the Constitution.

Representatives of the World Health Organisation Dr Abigail Aiken, Assistant Professor at LBJ School of Public Affairs, Texas; and Dr Ronald Johnson and Dr Bela Ganatra, from the Department of Reproductive Health and Research in the World Health Organisation, fielded questions from members of the committee.

At one point…

Paul Gavan: “I just want to get rid of a couple of myths that have been spun on one particular side of the debate. Could someone from the panel, please, tell me what are the risks associated with abortion? Does it, for example, result in higher risk of breast cancer? Does it result in a higher risk of mental health problems? Or are these ill-informed myths?…”

Ronald Johnson: “…As far as we know and this is in the guidelines, there are no known risks for breast cancer, for future reproduction, for mental health, no greater for women who have abortion than normal…than the general population.”


Dr Rhona Mahony, Master at National Maternity Hospital, Holles St and Professor Fergal Malone, Master at the Rotunda Maternity Hospital are due to start taking questions shortly.

Watch live here