WHO declares Public Health Emergency after 7711 confirmed and 170 died in China
Feb. 1, 2020
Global Korean Post
Coronaviruses (CoV) are a large family of viruses that cause illness ranging from the common cold to more severe diseases such as Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS-CoV) and Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS-CoV). A novel coronavirus (nCoV) is a new strain that has not been previously identified in humans.
The second meeting of the Emergency Committee convened by the WHO Director-General under the International Health Regulations (IHR) (2005) regarding the outbreak of novel coronavirus 2019-nCoV in the People’s Republic of China, with exportations to other countries, took place on Thursday, 30 January 2020, from 13:30 to 18:35 Geneva time (CEST).
Representatives of the Ministry of Health of the People’s Republic of China reported on the current situation and the public health measures being taken. There are now 7711 confirmed and 12167 suspected cases throughout the country. Of the confirmed cases, 1370 are severe and 170 people have died. 124 people have recovered and been discharged from hospital.
The WHO Secretariat provided an overview of the situation in other countries. There are now 82 cases in 18 countries. Of these, only 7 had no history of travel in China. There has been human-to-human transmission in 3 countries outside China. One of these cases is severe and there have been no deaths.
At its first meeting, the Committee expressed divergent views on whether this event constitutes a PHEIC or not. At that time, the advice was that the event did not constitute a PHEIC, but the Committee members agreed on the urgency of the situation and suggested that the Committee should continue its meeting on the next day, when it reached the same conclusion.
This second meeting takes place in view of significant increases in numbers of cases and additional countries reporting confirmed cases.
The Committee wished to re-emphasize the importance of studying the possible source, to rule out ongoing hidden transmission.
The Committee also emphasized the need for enhanced surveillance in regions outside Hubei, including pathogen genomic sequencing, to understand whether local cycles of transmission are occurring.
As this is a new coronavirus, and it has been previously shown that similar coronaviruses required substantial efforts to enable regular information sharing and research, the global community should continue to demonstrate solidarity and cooperation, in compliance with Article 44 of the IHR (2005), in supporting each other on the identification of the source of this new virus, its full potential for human-to-human transmission, preparedness for potential importation of cases, and research for developing necessary treatment.
The Emergency Committee will be reconvened within three months or earlier, at the discretion of the Director-General.