MAJOR: WHO Declares International Health Emergency Over Coronavirus Outbreak, Commends China’s Efforts as Setting New Standards for Outbreak Response
Geneva, Switzerland – The World Health Organization declared a “public health emergency of international concern” over the outbreak of the 2019nCoV, also knows as the “Wuhan coronavirus”. WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus called the coronavirus “a previously unknown pathogen, which has escalated into an unprecedented outbreak” at a press conference on Thursday.
He also added the WHO was not recommending restrictions of trade or travel with China, where the virus originated, RT reported. Tedros pointed out that the declaration was “not a vote of no confidence in China”, but made out of concern for other countries, with “weaker” healthcare systems.
China’s response to the outbreak has been “very impressive”, the WHO chief added, noting, “So is China’s commitment to transparency and to supporting other countries.”
“China is actually setting a new standard for outbreak response,” he stated.
While the majority of coronavirus cases have been registered in China, the WHO confirmed there were 98 confirmed cases elsewhere in the world – including eight cases of direct transmission in Germany, Japan, Vietnam and the US. The vast majority of cases outside of China have either traveled to Wuhan or been in contact with someone who has, the WHO officials noted.
“The only way we will defeat this outbreak is for all countries to work together in a spirit of solidarity and cooperation,” Tedros said, adding, “We are all in this together, and we can only stop it together.”
Coronavirus is the unofficial name of the pathogen, which the WHO is referring to by its interim name, 2019-nCoV. The condition caused by it is being called “2019-nCoV acute respiratory disease”. The Chinese authorities made an update on Friday on the number of infected and deceased. According to the official data, at least 9,692 have contracted the coronavirus and more than 200 have died, according to Sputnik.
Permanent Representative to the United Nations Zhang Jun told reporters on Thursday that Beijing has reached progress in identifying the nature of the virus, adding that Chinese specialists were able to successfully treat more than 130 people. The ground zero of new coronavirus – which was first reported last December – is said to be a seafood market in China’s Wuhan and has since spread to at least 19 countries.