WHO declares coronavirus outbreak as Global Public Health Emergency, issues advisory; Details
New Delhi: With the spread of Corona virus now reaching various other nations including India, Sri Lanka, the World Health Organization (WHO) has now declared the novel coronavirus outbreak a Public Health Emergency of International Concern
The confirmation came via a Statement on the second meeting of the International Health Regulations (2005) Emergency Committee regarding the outbreak of novel coronavirus (2019-nCoV)
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 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). The Committee's role is to give advice to the Director-General, who makes the final decision on the determination of a Public Health Emergency of International Concern (PHEIC). The Committee also provides public health advice or suggests formal Temporary Recommendations as appropriate.
Proceedings of the meeting was where Members and advisors of the Emergency Committee were convened by teleconference
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.
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 agreed that the outbreak now meets the criteria for a Public Health Emergency of International Concern and proposed the following advice to be issued as Temporary Recommendations.
The Director-General declared that the outbreak of 2019-nCoV constitutes a PHEIC and accepted the Committee's advice and issued this advice as Temporary Recommendations under the IHR.
Advice To the People's Republic of China
• Implement a comprehensive risk communication strategy to regularly inform the population on the evolution of the outbreak, the prevention and protection measures for the population, and the response measures taken for its containment.
• Enhance public health measures for containment of the current outbreak.
• Ensure the resilience of the health system and protect the health workforce.
• Enhance surveillance and active case finding across China.
• Collaborate with WHO and partners to conduct investigations to understand the epidemiology and the evolution of this outbreak and measures to contain it.
• Share relevant data on human cases.
• Continue to identify the zoonotic source of the outbreak, and particularly the potential for circulation with WHO as soon as it becomes available.
• Conduct exit screening at international airports and ports, with the aim of early detection of symptomatic travelers for further evaluation and treatment, while minimizing interference with international traffic.
To all countries
It is expected that further international exportation of cases may appear in any country. Thus, all countries should be prepared for containment, including active surveillance, early detection, isolation and case management, contact tracing and prevention of onward spread of 2019-nCoVinfection, and to share full data with WHO. Technical advice is available on the WHO website.
Countries are reminded that they are legally required to share information with WHO under the IHR.
Any detection of 2019-nCoV in an animal (including information about the species, diagnostic tests, and relevant epidemiological information) should be reported to the World Organization for Animal Health (OIE) as an emerging disease.
Countries should place particular emphasis on reducing human infection, prevention of secondary transmission and international spread, and contributing to the international response though multi-sectoral communication and collaboration and active participation in increasing knowledge on the virus and the disease, as well as advancing research.
The Committee does not recommend any travel or trade restriction based on the current information available.
Countries must inform WHO about any travel measures taken, as required by the IHR. Countries are cautioned against actions that promote stigma or discrimination, in line with the principles of Article 3 of the IHR.
For technical guidance by WHO on the matter click on the following link