Need More Information and Evidence: WHO on Declaring 2029-nCoV Health Emergency

Healthwire Bureau

Geneva, January 23-A meeting was convened by Internal Health Regulations (IHR) Emergency Committee under the aegis of the World Health Organization in Geneva on Wednesday to decide whether to declare the outbreak of novel Coronavirus (nCoV) in China, a global health emergency. The virus has claimed six lives so far and infected 300 people.

In a series of tweets, WHO said, “The 2019-nCoV is a new virus. Identification and sequencing were done quickly, but most importantly, the sequence was shared quickly. That’s what allowed Thailand, Japan, Republic of Korea to identify cases quickly.”

Talking about the urgency of the situation, WHO tweeted, “Public health actions do not begin at the declaration of a public health of emergency of international concern. These actions are already well underway.”

While assuring the international steps are being taken to contain the virus WHO said, “WHO is coordinating research collaboration on the new coronavirus (2019-nCoV) to be sure discoveries are accelerated.”

Later, WHO released a statement of the Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus on the IHR Emergency Committee on novel Coronavirus.

“As you know, this is an evolving and complex situation. I’d like to thank Dr Houssin for his leadership of the Emergency Committee, and all the members of the committee, the advisors, and those who made presentations earlier today,” read the statement by the Director-General.

While praising the cooperation of China in the meet and the steps taken by the country to contain the outbreak the statement read, “I was very impressed by the detail and depth of China’s presentation. I also appreciate the cooperation of China’s Minister of Health, who I have spoken with directly during the last few days and weeks. His leadership and the intervention of President Xi and Premier Li have been invaluable, and all the measures they have taken to respond to the outbreak.”

“There was an excellent discussion during the committee today, but it was also clear that to proceed, we need more information. For that reason, I have decided to ask the Emergency Committee to meet again tomorrow to continue their discussion, and the Chair, Dr Houssin, has agreed with that request,” the statement further read.

On the issue of declaring the outbreak a public health emergency the statement said, “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.”

“Our team in China working with local experts and officials to investigate the outbreak. We will have much more to say tomorrow,”the statement assured.

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