WHO declares coronavirus outbreak ‘global emergency’: Here is what it means
WHO’s Director-general Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus stated that so far 98 confirmed cases of the novel Coronavirus have been detected in 18 countries outside China.
January 31, 2020 / 12:45 PM IST
The World Health Organisation (WHO) has declared the outbreak of novel coronavirus as a global emergency. The disease, originated first in China, has slowly spread across the globe, killing over 200 people.
When the WHO declares a global health emergency, it is allowed to make recommendations on controlling the further spread of a virus or disease. WHO Director-general Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus stated that so far 98 confirmed cases of the novel Coronavirus have been detected in 18 countries outside China.
During the press conference, the director-general also noted that that, out of the 7,834 confirmed cases, 7,736 cases have been detected in China. The spread of this virus to other parts of the world has led to declaring Coronavirus as a Public Health Emergency of International Concern (PHEIC).
This declaration gives WHO the right to boost measures to contain the spread of Coronavirus. Upon declaring PHEIC, WHO can put advisories and recommendations in place related to travel like screening at the airports, land borders, etc.
WHO also has the ability to review the measures taken by countries to ensure the health and hygiene standards are at par.
The decision may also lead to providing funds and resources from the international community for the countries with weaker health systems.<
Ghebreyesus, during the press conference, noted that the declaration of Coronavirus as a global emergency is not due to a no-confidence vote in China. “WHO continues to have confidence in China’s capacity to control the outbreak,” Tedros said.
WHO has declared the PHEIC five times previously. These include the 2009 H1N1 outbreak, Polio in 2014, Ebola outbreak in South Africa in 2014, Zika virus in 2016, and Ebola in the Democratic Republic of the Congo in 2019. The committee had also put out travel advisories during the 2003 SARS epidemic across regions.