Published On: Fri, Feb 28th, 2020

WHO Reviews COVID-19 To ‘Very High’ At Global Level

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News Investigators/ The World Health Organisation (WHO) says it has increased its assessment of the risk of spread and risk of impact of COVID-19 (Coronavirus) to be ‘very high’ at a global level.
Dr Tedros Ghebreyesus, WHO Director-General, said this on Friday during a media briefing on COVID-19.
He noted that the continued increase in the number of cases, and in the number of affected countries over the last few days, were clearly of concern.
“In the past 24 hours, China reported 329 cases, the lowest in more than a month.
“As of 6 a.m. Geneva time this morning, China has reported a total of 78,959 cases of COVID-19 to WHO, including 2,791 deaths.
“Outside China, there are now 4,351 cases in 49 countries, and 67 deaths.
“Since yesterday, Denmark, Estonia, Lithuania, Netherlands and Nigeria have all reported their first cases. All these cases have links to Italy,” he said.
He noted that 24 cases have been exported from Italy to 14 countries, and 97 cases exported from Iran to 11 countries.
According to him, WHO epidemiologists have been monitoring the developments continuously, thus the review of the assessment of the risk of spread and the risk of impact of COVID-19 to be very high at a global level.
Ghebreyesus said that what was presently seen were linked to epidemics of COVID-19 in several countries, but most cases could still be traced to known contacts or clusters of cases.
“We do not see evidence as yet that the virus is spreading freely in communities.
“As long as that is the case, we still have a chance of containing this virus, if robust action is taken to detect cases early, isolate and care for patients and trace contacts.
“As I said yesterday, there are different scenarios in different countries, and different scenarios within the same country.
“The key to containing this virus is to break the chains of transmission,” he said.
Ghebreyesus said that work was progressing on vaccines and therapeutics, adding that more than 20 vaccines were in development globally, and several therapeutics were in clinical trials.
“We expect the first results in a few weeks.
“But we don’t need to wait for vaccines and therapeutics. There are things every individual can do to protect themselves and others today.
“Your risk depends on where you live, your age and general health. WHO can provide general guidance. You should also follow your national guidance and consult local health professionals.
“Together, we are powerful. Containment starts with you,” he said.
Ghebreyesus stressed that the greatest enemy for the world was not the virus itself, but fear, rumours and stigma.
He added that the greatest assets are facts, reason and solidarity

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