WHO Declares Coronavirus A ‘Health Emergency’

January 30, 2020

The World Health Organization [WHO] has declared the new coronavirus outbreak to be a “Public Health Emergency of International Concern.”

A meeting of the Emergency Committee convened by the WHO Director-General regarding coronavirus took place today [Jan 30], and following that WHO released a statement.

A statement from the organisation said, “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 83 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.”

“The Committee also acknowledged that there are still many unknowns, cases have now been reported in five WHO regions in one month, and human-to-human transmission has occurred outside Wuhan and outside China.

“The Committee believes that it is still possible to interrupt virus spread, provided that countries put in place strong measures to detect disease early, isolate and treat cases, trace contacts, and promote social distancing measures commensurate with the risk. It is important to note that as the situation continues to evolve, so will the strategic goals and measures to prevent and reduce spread of the infection.”

Yesterday, Bermuda’s Ministry of Health confirmed that “there are no cases or known suspect cases of the coronavirus currently in Bermuda,” and also noted that officials are working to “enhance screening of arriving travelers” and “there is a health officer at the airport to assist.”

“I want to reassure the public that the Ministry of Health is working closely with stakeholders from different disciplines and sectors of society to plan and prepare for the possible introduction of coronavirus,” said the Minister of Health Kim Wilson.

“This work includes very close collaboration with the Department of Customs, Department of Immigration and Skyport to enhance screening of arriving travelers and direct those with a travel history risk for further monitoring and assessment.”

The Bermuda Hospitals Board previously confirmed that “even though the current threat to Bermuda residents is low, we are closely monitoring developments and are ready to respond should the threat increase.”

Dr Michael Ashton, BHB Chief of Medicine and Infectious Diseases Specialist, comments: “We are closely monitoring this novel coronavirus and continue to work closely with Government. BHB has detailed plans for dealing with outbreaks and epidemics, and we swiftly reviewed our admissions processes as a precaution.”

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