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Coronavirus now poses 'very high' risk at global level - WHO

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Coronavirus now poses 'very high' risk at global level - WHO

By Stephanie Nebehay

 

2020-02-28T171733Z_1_LYNXNPEG1R1OT_RTROPTP_4_CHINA-HEALTH-WHO.JPG

Director General of the World Health Organization (WHO) Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus attends a news conference on the situation of the coronavirus (COVID-2019), in Geneva, Switzerland, February 28, 2020. REUTERS/Denis Balibouse

 

GENEVA (Reuters) - The risk of a global spread and impact of the coronavirus is now "very high", the highest level of alarm, but containment is still possible, the World Health Organization (WHO) said on Friday.

 

WHO chief Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said it would be a "big mistake" to switch from a public health strategy of containment to mitigation, where authorities accept the virus is spreading.

 

In recent days, 24 cases had been exported from Italy to 14 countries and 97 cases from Iran to 11 countries, Tedros said.

 

"Our epidemiologists have been monitoring these developments continuously. We have now increased our assessment of the risk of spread and the risk of impact of COVID-19 to 'very high' at global level," he told a news briefing.

 

He added: "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."

 

China's 329 reported cases in the past 24 hours was the lowest there in more than a month, he said.

 

"We are on the highest level of alert and the highest level of risk assessment in terms of spread and in terms of impact.

But that is not in order to alarm or scare people," said Dr. Mike Ryan, executive director of WHO's emergencies programme.

 

"People need to take a reality check now and really understand an all-of-government, an all-of-society approach is needed," Ryan said.

 

"We have been dealing with this virus for two months and I think this is a reality check for every government on the planet - wake up, get ready...You have a duty to your citizens, you have a duty to the world to be ready."

 

The WHO mission to Iran has been delayed due to "issues with getting flights and access to Iran right now", Ryan said, but the government of the United Arab Emirates was helping to facilitate access and delivery of supplies.

 

"The UAE is helping with this. We hope Sunday at the earliest, if not by Monday, we should have people on the ground," Tedros said.

 

Ryan said Nigeria, whose first case was confirmed as an Italian man who arrived from Milan, had "well-tested mechanisms for dealing with these dangerous pathogens", citing experience with Lassa fever and cholera.

 

The most populous African country has expanded its influenza diagnostics and the same labs can now do COVID diagnosis, he said.

 

"That is not to say that there are not risks. Nigeria is a vast country with a huge population, and it has many vulnerable people, especially in the north and lots of refugees and many others.

 

"So it is disappointing to see the disease arrive, but it's also heartening to see that the disease was picked up and a single importation was confirmed quickly. And that isolation and other activities have already begun," Ryan added.

 

Mexico has become the second country in Latin America to report cases: "There is no reason to think (the virus) would act differently in different climate settings," said Dr. Maria van Kerkhove, a WHO epidemiologist.

 

(Reporting by Stephanie Nebehay; Editing by Catherine Evans and John Stonestreet)

 

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-- © Copyright Reuters 2020-02-29

 

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popping up a lot here in the states as well

 

 

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Good thing if you ask me, solve the pension crisis in one stroke, most of those dying being in the older category. Oops, I'm 64 - never mind, my altruistic side overcomes my petty selfish concerns. Ha! But then there's my Dad, he's 90+. Conflicting thoughts on this one.

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Rest easy here in the states mike pence is in charge lol the guy who screwed up the aids response in Indiana oh it’s well and truly going to hit the fan!

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And this may be the reason the WHO is still refusing to label the coronavirus a "pandemic."  

Quote

Wenham co-authored a paper criticising pandemic bonds in which it was found that more money was paid out to investors than to countries facing disease outbreaks. Payments would have only been triggered in two out of more than 60 disease outbreaks analysed – Ebola in west Africa and rift valley fever in 2006, the paper found. Wenham said: “If the aim of it is to prevent pandemics, why would you wait for arbitrary numbers? Global health security is predicated on prevention rather than response, so waiting for it to get to a certain number of deaths in a certain number of countries before they pay out, is counterintuitive. It is not fit for purpose. https://www.theguardian.com/global-development/2020/feb/28/world-banks-500m-coronavirus-push-too-late-for-poor-countries-experts-say

 

Edited by zydeco
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All they can do is hope to slow it down until some kind of  vaccine or other scientific method is developed.  One good thing is, that research on viruses is taking quick and big steps forward, using multiple methods and testing in order to attack viruses by different mechanisms 

Edited by Redline
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