WHO identifies novel coronavirus as ‘high risk’


HEALTH | Jan 28, 2020 (IANS) :

The World Health Organization (WHO), which is yet to declare the novel coronavirus as a Public Health Emergency of International Concern (PHEIC) despite over 100 fatalities in China, identified the disease as "high risk".

In a statement on Monday, the WHO also claimed to be in touch with all the Health Ministers of the South Asian region, while keeping a close watch on the developments.

"WHO remains committed to work with member countries to scale up readiness and implement International Health Regulation (IHR) core capacities to respond to any importation," it said.

On January 23, an Emergency Committee set up by the WHO over the virus which originated in the Chinese city of Wuhan, had concluded that the outbreak did not constitute a PHEIC.

Meanwhile, WHO South-East Asia has urged countries in the region to remain vigilant and strengthen their readiness to rapidly detect any case of the new coronavirus and prevent its spread.

"It is time to focus on all efforts on readiness guided by whatever is known about the new coronavirus," Poonam Khetrapal Singh, Regional Director of WHO South-East Asia, said.

"Globally, the WHO has prepared interim guidance on case detection, testing, clinical management of cases, infection prevention and control during health care, home care for people suspected to have the virus, and guidance on reducing transmission.

"We should continue to be vigilant and ready to contain and prevent any further spread," she added.