UKHSA says no need to amend plans

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The United Kingdom Health Security Agency (UKHSA) has told inside the games that it has “taken into account monkeypox in its planning and processes for Birmingham 2022” and said there is “no need to amend these plans” in light of the World Health Organization’s (WHO) pronouncement.

The British Government agency in charge of public health protection in England is providing advice and guidance to Birmingham 2022 and Commonwealth Games Federation officials over their health and safety regulations.

Monkeypox was declared a ‘global health emergency’ by WHO Director General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus on Saturday (23 July).

Ghebreyesus said the global risk of monkeypox was ‘moderate’ apart from Europe, where it was considered ‘high’.

More than 16,000 monkeypox cases have been reported by 75 countries, according to the WHO.

A total of 2,208 cases have been identified in the UK, with 2,115 of those in England, the UKHSA reports.

The majority of cases in the UK have been found to be in gay and bisexual men, with transmission largely suspected to have happened through sexual activity.

According to health experts, monkeypox does not spread as easily as COVID-19, with the smallpox vaccine said to be effective in preventing the disease.

The WHO’s declaration comes just days before Birmingham is due to stage the Commonwealth Games.

Athletes from all 72 Commonwealth nations and territories are arriving in the English city before the Games are due to open on Thursday (28 July).

Meera Chand, Director of Clinical and Emerging Infections at the UKHSA, added: “The WHO’s declaration of a Public Health Emergency of International Concern recognises the rapid spread of the virus globally, and the need for global coordination to investigate and prevent further transmission”.

(Agencies)