The World Health Organisation (WHO) declared that the coronavirus outbreak is a global public health emergency of international concern.
In a press briefing following a meeting of WHO’s International Health Regulations Emergency Committee, Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, the Director General of WHO said the declaration was not a lack of faith in China.
“Let me be clear: this declaration is not a vote of no confidence in China. On the contrary, WHO continues to have confidence in China’s capacity to control the outbreak,” Ghebreyesus said.
“The main reason for this declaration is not because of what is happening in China, but because of what is happening in other countries”, he added.
In total, 7 834 cases of Conoravirus have been confirmed since its discovery, with 7 736 of these cases in China.
170 people have died from the outbreak, all of them in China, Ghebreyesus said.
“As you know, I was in China just a few days ago, where I met with President Xi Jinping. I left in absolutely no doubt about China’s commitment to transparency, and to protecting the world’s people,” he said.
Here are the places that have confirmed cases of the virus:
The WHO expressed concern of the virus potentially spreading to countries with weaker health systems.
“We don’t know what sort of damage this [Conorna] virus could do if it were to spread in a country with a weaker health system. We must act now to help countries prepare for that possibility.”
The WHO’s International Health Regulations Emergency Committee concluded recommendation to prevent further spread of the virus.
Part of these recommendations, Ghebreyesus said, was that there is “no reason” to create measures that unnecessarily interfere with international travel or trade.
“WHO doesn’t recommend limiting trade and movement,” he said.
The Committee also resolved to support countries with weaker health systems and accelerate the development of vaccines, combat the spread of rumours and false information, review preparedness plans and identify gaps and identify resources needed to isolate and care for cases and share knowledge and experience with the world.
The Committee further called on countries to work together.
“The only way to defeat this outbreak is for all countries to work together in a spirit of solidarity and cooperation, we’re all in this together,” Ghebreyesus said.
“This is the time for facts, not fear. This is time for science, not rumours. This is the time for solidarity not stigma,” he added.