'Every scenario on the table' in China virus outbreak: WHO's Tedros 1

‘Every scenario on the table’ in China virus outbreak: WHO’s Tedros


Geneva: The World Health Organization said on Monday that the latest data from China on coronavirus infections indicate a decrease in new cases, but that “every situation is still being discussed” in terms of the evolution of the epidemic.

WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said that a paper on more than 44,000 confirmed cases published in China provided information about the age category, the severity of the disease and understanding of mortality.

“Data also seems to indicate a decrease in new cases,” he told reporters. “The trend must be interpreted very carefully. The trend may change if new populations are affected.

“It is too early to say whether this downward trend will continue. Every situation is still on the table,” he said.

Tedros said that China has reported 70,635 cases of COVID-19, including 1,772 deaths. In the last 24 hours, China has reported 2,051 new cases, including laboratory confirmed results and cases based on clinical observations (usually breast scans).

He said fewer than 700 cases were reported in 25 other countries.

“The real question is whether we see the effective spread of communities outside of China and that we have not yet observed this,” said Dr. Mike Ryan, head of WHO contingency plans.

Speaking of China, he said the virus affected a quarter of every 100,000 people, even at epicenter in Wuhan and Hubei provinces.

“This is a very serious epidemic and has potential for development. But we have to find a balance in the number of people affected. Outside of Hubei, this epidemic affects a very small number of people.” Ruian said.

“So if we want to destroy every cruise ship in the world from time to time because they might come into contact with certain potential pathogens, where do we stop? Are we closing buses all over the world?”

Ryan said there was no risk, and he called for a decision based on the cruise ship and a meeting based on solid evidence.

Tedros added: “Measures must be taken on the basis of science and evidence of public health, as appropriate. A package of measures cannot help.”

The Diamond Princess cruise ship, quarantined with 3,700 passengers, is by far the largest category of goods outside of China, with more than 400 positive.

Dr. Sylvie Bryant, WHO Director of Global Infectious Disease Risk Prevention, said the agency worked closely with the Japanese authorities and that the ship’s medical director was docked from Yokohama for infection and evacuation.

“Our focus is on our public health goal, namely viruses, but not people,” she said.

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