WHO declares Coronavirus outbreak is now a ‘public health emergency of international concern’
The World Health Organization (WHO) has declared on Thursday, 30th January 2020 that the Coronavirus outbreak has become a global health emergency amid fears that the virus could spread to countries without the needed health systems to curb its spread.
The decision is expected to be followed by availability of resources to health officials to tackle the virus which has already made way to four continents. Over 8000 people have been sickened as a result of the virus and the death toll presently has surpassed 200.
WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said the organization is not recommending any measures that would limit travel or international trade. Those are some of the most potent tools at his agency’s disposal, but they are not necessary at this time, he told reporters in Geneva.
Experts who have been working in the field and fighting the virus say that the decision of the WHO is more than justified.
Tedros took pains to reassure China that WHO’s declaration implied no criticism of the country’s actions, including the “extraordinary measures” it has taken to limit the spread of the novel coronavirus, known officially as 2019-nCoV. Among other things, the government ordered an unprecedented quarantine affecting 50 million people in 17 cities. “China is setting a new standard for outbreak response, and it’s not an exaggeration,” he said.
How to protect yourself and your family
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.