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The “COVID-19: Updates from Singapore” weekly webinar series is a forum for leading clinicians, scientists, public health officials and policy makers to share insights into their field of study. The seventh edition of the webinar was held on Thursday, 21 May 2020.

This session’s invited guest, Dr Bruce Aylward, is Senior Advisor to the Director-General, Organisational Change, World Health Organisation (WHO). He has 30 years of experience working in Infectious Diseases and is involved in setting up eradication, elimination and control programmes and policies regionally and globally with WHO.

Dr Bruce Aylward was part of the committee of delegates who travelled to Wuhan, China on a joint WHO-China Technical Mission on COVID-19 from 16 February to 24 February this year. He provided a detailed account on what the world can learn from China’s example in dealing with the COVID-19 outbreak, and how the world can take a cohesive approach to keep the virus under control, until a vaccine is found.

The webinar took on a Question and Answer format this week, guided by questions submitted by viewers and moderated by Dr David Allen. Questions ranged from key takeaways from the joint WHO-China mission in February and areas that could have been probed more deeply during this venture, to predictions which turned up false, as well as techniques to shore up public engagement and support in countries where citizen engagement is low.

Dr Aylward stressed that though we have learned much about this new, but lethal organism since February, our understanding of the situation continues to evolve. He posits that countries cannot remain silent as the lack of information sharing will overwhelm even the strongest of healthcare systems in this difficult time.

Furthermore, governments need to identify a set of culturally-appropriate solutions to support the psychological well-being of COVID-19 survivors, healthcare professionals and volunteers. In recognition of pandemics and the existential threats they bring, world leaders need to realise that cohesion and international cooperation with apolitical international organisations is key to addressing pandemics of the future.

Click here to watch the full session of the webinar.

WATCH: COVID-19 Updates from Singapore: Webinar 7 | Dr Bruce Aylward

Join us in the next “COVID-19: Updates from Singapore” session on 28 May 2020, featuring guest speaker Assoc Prof Graeme MacLaren, Director of Cardiothoracic ICU at the National University Hospital (NUH). Register now at https://medicine.nus.edu.sg/cet/webinar/.