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WHO Director-General Encourages COVID-19-Safe Protesting


Demonstrators protest Saturday, June 6, 2020, near the White House in Washington, over the death of George Floyd, a black man who was in police custody in Minneapolis. Floyd died after being restrained by Minneapolis police officers. (AP Photo…

World Health Organization Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said Monday he supports the global movement against racism, but encourages protesters to do it “safely."

At his Monday news briefing, Tedros urged protesters to keep at least one meter apart from one another, wash their hands, cover their mouths when coughing and wear a mask while demonstrating. He also said protesters who are sick should stay at home.

During Monday's news conference, he also encouraged countries to strengthen public health measures and to find, isolate and test for every coronavirus case.

Also at the briefing, WHO emergency programs technical lead Maria Van Kerkhove told reporters that their ongoing research found it is rare for asymptomatic COVID-19 carriers to actually pass along the disease. She said the key to controlling the spread of the virus is to follow the symptomatic cases.

Kerkhove said they know COVID-19 is a respiratory pathogen that passes from an individual through infectious droplets. Symptomatic people are the ones producing those droplets, she said, and if all of them were followed closely and isolated, COVID-19 numbers would be drastically reduced.

"It seems to be rare that an asymptomatic person actually transmits onward to a secondary individual,” Kerkhove said. “What we really want to be focused on is following the symptomatic cases. If we actually followed all of the symptomatic cases, isolated those cases, follow the contacts and quarantine those contacts, we would drastically reduce" the spread.

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