World Health Organization chief denounces unnecessary interference with int'l travel, trade during coronavirus outbreak

Henrietta Strickland
February 5, 2020

The current situation does feel like a case of deja vu from 2003, when Beijing was criticised by many for its less than timely and transparent release of critical information about Sars - which also originated from China - at the outset, and which could have helped to nip an escalating virus in the bud and mitigate its casualty rate.

WHO has earlier declared the outbreak a global health emergency. The State Department has warned Americans against all travel to China, and is planning more evacuation flights to bring Americans home from the country this week.

The other cases were primarily driven by close contact with family members who had traveled to China.

Volunteers in protective suits disinfect a railway station as the country is hit by an outbreak of the new coronavirus, in Changsha, Hunan province, China, on February 4, 2020.

American Airlines announced Tuesday a halt to its flights from two USA cities to Hong Kong, a semi-autonomous Chinese city that has confirmed cases of the new coronavirus.

Briand said that there is rapid spread of transmission in Hubei, the epicentre where most of the cases are detected. Two to three percent of patients suffer from diarrhea. Another 20 people who came into contact with the infected couple have shown no symptoms, but were being kept under observation. Member States during a briefing on the virus on Tuesday.

The chance was there because of "the strong measures China is taking at the epicentre, said World Health Organization chief".

Instead, she said, "we are at the phase where it is an epidemic with multiple foci". Outside China, there were 151 confirmed cases in 23 countries, and one death, reported in the Philippines on Sunday, he said.

Dr. Nancy Messonnier, director of the CDC's National Center for Immunization and Respiratory Diseases, told reporters on a teleconference on Monday: "We have folks ready to go to China as soon as that offer is finalized". It was not clear from the Xinhua report how long she was being held, or whether she might already have been released.

WHO says outbreak has been accompanied by over-abundance of information that makes it hard for people to find trustworthy sources, reliable guidanceThe World Health Organization said on Monday it was working around the clock with internet and social media giants to combat widespread misinformation surrounding the deadly novel coronavirus outbreak.

The WHO executive board, which is starting a six-day meeting, plans to hold a special technical session on the coronavirus Tuesday. A number of deaths have been reported in China.

In Japan, 3,711 people are quarantined on a cruise ship off the coast of Yokohama after several passengers fell ill.

Other reports by Click Lancashire

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