GENEVA: A special team of World Health Organization medical specialists landed in China on Feb 10, Monday to help investigate the coronavirus outbreak, WHO chief Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus told media.
Tedros, who met Chinese President Xi Jinping in Beijing a month ago, came back with a concession to sending a universal strategic. It took almost two weeks to get the green light from the Chinese government in the group, drove by Canadian crisis management expert Dr. Bruce Aylward.
“Bruce and his colleagues will be working with their Chinese counterparts to make sure we have the right expertise on the team to answer the right questions,” Tedros told in a press conference.
“We hope the rest of the team will join them as soon as possible. The team could range between 10 and 15,” he said, giving no details on their identities.
There have been 40,235 affirmed cases revealed in China and 909 passings, he said. Tedros voiced worry at constrained episodes, announced by European specialists at the end of the week, of the individual-to-individual spread of the infection by individuals with no history of travel to China.
“In recent days, we have seen some concerning instances of onward transmission from people with no travel history to China, like the cases reported in France yesterday and the United Kingdom today,” he said.
“The detection of this small number of cases could be the spark that becomes a bigger fire. But for now, it’s only a spark. Our objective remains containment.”
Dr. Mike Ryan, WHO’s top crises manager, got some information about a worldwide conference held at a Singapore inn on Jan 20-22, said it didn’t seem to have spread the infection generally. There are around 40 affirmed cases in Singapore, incorporating 21 related to import from China and 19 privately contracted the disease with no history of travel to China, he said. There are about 40 confirmed cases in Singapore, including 21 associated with import from China and 19 locally acquired with no history of travel, he said.
“The Singapore conference cluster has 12 cases associated with it. Those 5 in France, the 3 in Singapore itself, and then (South) Korea, Malaysia and the United Kingdom,” Ryan added, noting that those figures were in the single digits.
“So are we not dealing here with a super-spreading event, people are comparing it to the Amoy Gardens or to the Metropole hotel,” he said, referring to the SARS outbreak in 2002/2003.
Tedros urged countries to take public health measures to help “prevent a bigger fire”, adding: “This is a message for the whole world. This is a common enemy that we can only defeat if we do it in unison.”
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31 March, 2020