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WHO chief calls for G20 solidarity in ensuring protective equipment supply

People's Daily Online

(Xinhua) 09:13, March 24, 2020

GENEVA, March 23 (Xinhua) -- World Health Organization (WHO) Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus on Monday called on the G20 countries to stand in solidarity in addressing the global shortage of personal protective equipment (PPE) in the midst of COVID-19 pandemic.

The WHO chief, who is expected to address G20 leaders this week, said he would ask the leaders to "work together to increase production, avoid export bans and ensure equity of distribution on the basis of need."

Referring to reports from around the world of massive infections among health workers, Tedros urged countries and regions to protect health workers by rationalizing and prioritizing the use of PPE, such as gloves, mask, gown etc.

"Measures put in place to slow the spread of the virus may have unintended consequences by exacerbating shortages of essential protective gear and the materials needed to make them," Tedros warned.

He underlined that solving the problem requires political commitment and political coordination at the global level.

"We need unity in the G20 countries, who have more than 80 percent of global GDP," Tedros said, noting that political commitment at the G20 means strong solidarity that can help fight this pandemic in the strongest way possible.

According to the WHO situation dashboard, a total of 332,935 coronavirus cases, including 14,510 deaths, have been reported as of 10:00 CET (0900 GMT) Monday, as the virus spreads to 189 countries and regions.

Outside China, the number of confirmed cases has surpassed 250,000.

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