ZURICH (Reuters) – Southern hemisphere countries such as South Africa, Chile, Argentina and Australia need support so they have the capacity to manage both seasonal influenza and the COVID-19 respiratory disease, a senior World Health Organization expert said on Monday.

The experience those countries will have with both diseases circulating at the same time will greatly benefit countries in the northern hemisphere that may face the same situation in six months time, Dr. Mike Ryan, head of WHO’s emergencies programme, told a news conference.

(Reporting by Stephanie Nebehay, Emma Farge and Michael Shields)