Coronavirus: How WHO Tackled The Virus Outbreak So Far.

Saiyed Danish Jamal

New Delhi, January 28-The Novel Coronavirus or 2019-nCoV, which has claimed several lives by now and affected almost 1,300 people across the world, has caused havoc in China, the country of its origin, which is taking stricter and more targeted measures to curb the spread.

The virus, which is believed to have originated from a fish market in the central city of Wuhan and can be spread by human-to-human contact, has forced China to lockdown its own citizens barring them from travelling to contain the virus.

Since the outbreak, World Health Organisation is monitoring every development closely, however, without declaring nCoV a global health emergency which many international organisations such Human Rights Watch (HRW) concerned.

Healthwire put together the efforts made by WHO so far towards addressing the situation.

WHO Action Timeline

-On 31 December 2019, the WHO China Country Office was informed of cases of pneumonia due to an unknown etiology (unknown cause) in Wuhan City, Hubei Province of China.

-From 31 December 2019 to 3 January 2020, a total of 44 case-patients with pneumonia of unknown etiology were reported to WHO by the national authorities in China. During this reported period, the causal agent was not identified.

-On 11 and 12 January 2020, WHO received further detailed information from the National Health Commission China that the outbreak is associated with exposures in one seafood market in Wuhan City.

-As of 20 January 2020, 282 confirmed cases of 2019-nCoV have been reported from four countries including China (278 cases), Thailand (2 cases), Japan (1 case) and the Republic of
Korea (1 case)

-Between January 21 and January 27, WHO releases six more situation reports on novel Coronavirus detailing the number of cases and deaths.

January 22: WHO convenes an emergency meeting of International Health Regulation (IHR) in Geneva to decide if the outbreak in China could be declared as a global public health emergency.

January 23: WHO Director-General Dr. Tedros Adnahum Ghebreyesus released a statement on Thursday following the emergency IHR meeting a day ago to decide about declaring the nCoV outbreak in China a global public health emergency.

“I am not declaring a public health emergency of international concern [PHEIC] today. Make no mistake. This is an emergency in China, but it has not yet become a global health emergency. WHO’s risk assessment is that the outbreak is a very high risk in China, and a high risk regionally and globally”

Earlier, Director-General had said that more information and evidence is needed in order to declare 2019-nCoV Health Emergency and urged to support ongoing efforts through a WHO international multidisciplinary mission, including national experts.

January 26: In its Situation Report, WHO detailed epidemiological information from more people infected is needed to determine the infectious period of the new #coronavirus (2019-nCoV).

WHO said that it is working with networks of specialists to analyze 2019-nCoV full genome sequences as they become available. We have not received evidence that the virus has changed. We await further information from officials.

January 27: WHO Director-General Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus and colleagues visited Beijing to meet with government and health experts supporting the response.

In its Situation Report WHO underlined that the mission’s aim is to understand the latest developments and strengthen the partnership with China, in particular for the response.

Important Perspective: WHO in a tweet noted that Of the 2,798 confirmed cases reported so far, 98% are in China. Of the 37 cases outside China, 36 had travel history to Wuhan or other cities in China. 80 cases of deaths in China, mostly in Hubei province.

WHO went live on Twitter on novel #coronavirus (2019-nC0V) with emerging diseases expert Dr Maria Van Kerkhove who answered many basic queries about the virus of the visitors.

January 28: WHO is aware of one case of human-to-human transmission of #coronavirus outside in Vietnam. That’s still one case too many. But we’re encouraged that so far we have not seen more human-to-human transmission outside. ‘We’re monitoring the outbreak constantly,’said WHO.

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