WHO discusses coronavirus outbreak


GENEVA: The World Health Organization (WHO) extended its emergency talks on whether the novel coronavirus outbreak in China constitutes a Public Health Emergency of International Concern (PHEIC). “There was an excellent discussion during the meeting today, but it was also clear that to proceed, we need more information,” said WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus at a press conference after a closed-door meeting of an Emergency Committee. “For that reason, I have decided to ask the Emergency Committee to meet again tomorrow to continue the discussion,” added Tedros. “The decision about whether or not to declare a public health emergency of international concern is one I take extremely seriously, and one I am only prepared to make with appropriate consideration of all the evidence,” the WHO chief noted. Tedros said he was very impressed by the detail and depth of China’s presentation of the situation of the novel coronavirus outbreak. He also appreciated the cooperation of Ma Xiaowei, head of China’s National Health Commission, who he had spoken with directly during the last few days and weeks. The intervention of the Chinese leadership, said the WHO chief, has been invaluable. The WHO chief appreciated China’s immediate detecting and sharing of the sequencing of the virus, so that other countries like Japan, the Republic of Korea and Thailand are able to get most of the virus quickly. Actions were also taken immediately especially on the market in Wuhan, the central Chinese city where the first case of novel coronavirus infection (2019-nCoV) was identified. Those actions were followed by other very strong measures including halting flights and trains out of Wuhan from Thursday. Tedros believed that those actions will “minimize the chances of this outbreak spreading internationally.” – The Daily Mail-People’s Daily News exchange item