WHO Rep on Coronavirus: All Countries Should Prepare

At this time, it is vital for all countries to prepare and check their capabilities facing the outbreak of coronavirus, said representative of the World Health Organization (WHO), Silvio Domente.

WHO has declined to declare the growing viral pneumonia outbreak in China a public health emergency of international concern, claiming its expert committee shall meet again on Thursday for further discussion.

“We know that such acute respiratory viruses have created many problems in the past. [The coronavirus is from the same family that caused 800 deaths globally from SARS, Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome, in 2002-03 and MERS, the Middle East Respiratory virus, identified in 2012). It is potentially dangerous, but since we do not have sufficient information, we are monitoring the situation to find ways to resolve the issue. It is vital for all countries to begin preparation. No travel or trade restrictions are recommended at this time. Let's see how the situation develops," Domente told reporters at the Georgian Ministry of Health.

A newly identified virus originating in Wuhan, China, can infect both animals and people. Coronaviruses are a large family of viruses with some causing less-severe disease, such as the common cold, and others more severe disease such as MERS and SARS. The virus primarily infects and spreads through the respiratory tract. As foreign media reports, an outbreak of the mysterious pneumonia-like virus in China has killed at least 17 people and sickened more than 570, including in Taiwan, Japan, Thailand, South Korea and most recently, the United States. 

The Chinese authorities have decided to close Wuhan by canceling flights and trains leaving the city. The sense of fear has been escalating among Wuhan’s residents in the face of the sudden lockdown and insufficient medical support (claimed by many).

WHO continues to monitor the situation thoroughly and- together with its partners- is ready to provide technical support to China to investigate and respond to the outbreak. “In the coming weeks, more comprehensive information is required to understand the current status and epidemiology of the outbreak, and the clinical picture. Further investigations are also required to determine the source, modes of transmission, extent of infection and countermeasures implemented”, reads the statement by WHO.

By Elene Dzebisashvili

23 January 2020 14:56