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WHO’s Ghebreyesus blasts international community for only now paying attention to monkeypox as confirmed cases soar in the UK

‘The communities that live with the threat of this virus every day deserve the same concern, the same care and the same access to tools to protect themselves,’ said WHO’s Ghebreyesus. EPA Photo.

‘The communities that live with the threat of this virus every day deserve the same concern, the same care and the same access to tools to protect themselves,’ said WHO’s Ghebreyesus. EPA Photo.

Published Jun 9, 2022

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Cape Town - Global cases of the monkeypox virus have surpassed 1 000, with the UK leading in the number of confirmed infections and suspected cases, the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) said.

As of June 6, 1 019 confirmed and suspected cases of monkeypox have been reported in 29 countries, according to the CDC.

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The UK has recorded the most cases, 302 suspected and confirmed infections, followed by Spain (198), Portugal (153) and Canada (80), CNBC reported.

Officials at the CDC also suspect that the monkeypox virus may be airborne at least for “short distances” and thus have asked people, especially health-care workers in close contact, to wear masks, IANS reports.

The CDC on its website has urged monkeypox patients, “especially those who have respiratory symptoms”, to wear a surgical mask.

It also asks other household members to “consider wearing a surgical mask” when they are in the presence of the person with monkeypox.

Last month, UNaids urged media, governments and communities to respond with a rights-based, evidence-based approach that avoids stigma, referring to monkeypox information coverage.

“Stigma and blame undermine trust and capacity to respond effectively during outbreaks like this one,” said Matthew Kavanagh, UNaids deputy executive director.

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According to the World Health Organization (WHO), some African countries where the virus is endemic have seen more than 1 400 suspected cases of monkeypox and 56 people have died from it.

“This virus has been circulating and killing in Africa for decades," said WHO director-general Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, at a press conference in Geneva.

“It’s an unfortunate reflection of the world we live in that the international community is only now paying attention to monkeypox because it has appeared in high-income countries.

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“The communities that live with the threat of this virus every day deserve the same concern, the same care and the same access to tools to protect themselves,” he noted.

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