Access to basic handwashing facilities is a key condition for schools to be able to operate safely in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic. Yet the latest data from the WHO/UNICEF Joint Monitoring Programme (JMP) found that 43% of schools worldwide lacked access to basic handwashing with soap and water in 2019. 

The COVID-19 pandemic, which has killed over 390 000 people in the Americas, is threatening regional plans to eliminate and control infectious diseases including tuberculosis, HIV, hepatitis and others, WHO Regional Director for the Americas, Dr Carissa F. Etienne said yesterday. 

Nearly 20 million cases of COVID-19 have now been recorded. WHO Director-General Dr Tedros stressed that behind these statistics there is a great deal of pain and suffering. He emphasized that ‘There are two essential elements to addressing the pandemic effectively. Leaders must step up to take action and citizens need to embrace new measures…My message is crystalclear: suppress, suppress, suppress the virus’.

Over the past weeks, WHO has been adding functionality to its COVID-19 global dashboard, to display all of the latest data that have been published in the daily situation report; these data are now fully available on the dashboard. Important narrative updates are being merged into the WHO COVID-19 “Rolling updates”pages. Starting next Monday, 17 August, the daily situation report will be replaced by a “COVID-19 Weekly Epidemiological Update” which will focus on analysis and interpretation of the evolving epidemiologic situation. Operational updates will continue to be shared through the “Weekly Operational Update on COVID-19”.

“Now it’s time to work together. Now it’s time to fight the virus”, said Dr Tedros in a media briefing on Thursday last week.

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