WHO: Outbreak of novel coronavirus (2019-nCoV)

24 January, 2020

WHO: Statement on the meeting of the International Health Regulations (2005) Emergency Committee regarding the outbreak of novel coronavirus (2019-nCoV)

Extracts below. Read online:

https://www.who.int/news-room/detail/23-01-2020-statement-on-the-meeting...(2005)-emergency-committee-regarding-the-outbreak-of-novel-coronavirus-(2019-ncov)

The Emergency Committee was convened today by the WHO Director-General under the International Health Regulations regarding the outbreak of novel coronavirus 2019. The committee advised that the event did not constitute a Public Health Emergency of International Concern (PHEIC), they agreed on the urgency of the situation and suggested that the Committee should be reconvened in a matter of days to examine the situation further.

23 January 2020 Statement Geneva, Switzerland

... Chinese authorities presented new epidemiological information that revealed an increase in the number of cases, of suspected cases, of affected provinces, and the proportion of deaths in currently reported cases of 4% (17 of 557). They reported fourth-generation cases in Wuhan and second-generation cases outside Wuhan, as well as some clusters outside Hubei province. They explained that strong containment measures (closure of public-transportation systems are in place in Wuhan City, as well as other nearby cities). After this presentation, the EC was informed about the evolution in Japan, Republic of Korea, and Thailand, and that one new possible case had been identified in Singapore.

The Committee welcomed the efforts made by China to investigate and contain the current outbreak.

The following elements were considered as critical:

Human-to-human transmission is occurring and a preliminary R0 estimate of 1.4-2.5 was presented. Amplification has occurred in one health care facility. Of confirmed cases, 25% are reported to be severe. The source is still unknown (most likely an animal reservoir) and the extent of human-to-human transmission is still not clear.

Several members considered that it is still too early to declare a PHEIC, given its restrictive and binary nature.

Based on these divergent views, the EC formulates the following advice [...]

Technical advice is available here. https://www.who.int/emergencies/diseases/novel-coronavirus-2019 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. Countries should also follow travel advice from WHO...

[Advice for the public here:] https://www.who.int/emergencies/diseases/novel-coronavirus-2019/advice-f...

WHO’s standard recommendations for the general public to reduce exposure to and transmission of a range of illnesses are as follows, which include hand and respiratory hygiene, and safe food practices:

- Frequently clean hands by using alcohol-based hand rub or soap and water;

- When coughing and sneezing cover mouth and nose with flexed elbow or tissue – throw tissue away immediately and wash hands;

- Avoid close contact with anyone who has fever and cough;

- If you have fever, cough and difficulty breathing seek medical care early and share previous travel history with your health care provider;

- When visiting live markets in areas currently experiencing cases of novel coronavirus, avoid direct unprotected contact with live animals and surfaces in contact with animals;

- The consumption of raw or undercooked animal products should be avoided. Raw meat, milk or animal organs should be handled with care, to avoid cross-contamination with uncooked foods, as per good food safety practices.

Best wishes, Neil

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HIFA profile: Neil Pakenham-Walsh is coordinator of the HIFA global health campaign (Healthcare In

formation For All - www.hifa.org ), a global community with almost 20,000 members in 180 countries, interacting on six global forums in four languages (English, French, Spanish, Portuguese). Twitter: @hifa_org FB: facebook.com/HIFAdotORG neil@hifa.org