2020-12-16 6:33

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WHO Director-General's Latest Statement On COVID-19 Outbreak On 18 February 2020

As of 6am Geneva time this morning, China has reported 72,528 cases to WHO, including 1870 deaths.

In the past 24 hours, China has reported 1,891 new cases, including both clinically- and lab-confirmed cases.

Outside China, there are now 804 cases in 25 countries, with three deaths.

In the past 24 hours, there have been 110 new cases outside China, including 99 on the Diamond Princess cruise ship.

Pic: WHO logoWe have now had cases of COVID-19 outside China for more than a month. We are supporting national authorities in every country that has cases to track the virus and understand how people were infected.

So far there are 92 cases in 12 countries outside China of human-to-human transmission.

At the moment we don’t have enough data on cases outside China to make a meaningful comparison on the severity of disease or the case fatality rate. We’re following up with countries to get more information about what happens about each case and the outcome.

However, we have not yet seen the sustained local transmission, except in specific circumstances like the Diamond Princess cruise ship.

Yesterday I spoke to Singapore’s Minister of Health and we are very impressed with the efforts they are making to find every case, follow up with contacts, and stop transmission.

Singapore is leaving no stone unturned, testing every case of influenza-like illness and pneumonia. So far they have not found evidence of community transmission. I also spoke to the Minister of Health of Malaysia to discuss the Westerdam case and other aspects of their preparations.

These signals show the importance of all countries being ready for the arrival of the virus, to treat patients with dignity and compassion, to protect health workers and to prevent onward transmission.

Many countries are taking steps to prepare themselves, with WHO support. We’ve shipped supplies of personal protective equipment to 21 countries, and will ship to another 106 countries in the coming weeks. By the end of this week, 40 countries in Africa and 29 in the Americas are due to have the ability to detect COVID-19.

Many of these countries have been sending samples to other countries for testing, waiting several days for results. Now they can do it themselves, within 24 to 48 hours.

Some countries in Africa including DRC are now leveraging the capacity they have built up to test for Ebola to test for COVID-19. This is a great example of how investing in health systems can pay dividends for health security.
Other countries like Namibia, Nigeria and Timor-Leste are running workshops with the media to ensure accurate and reliable reporting.

Several countries are prioritizing surveillance and monitoring at ports of entry, including Bangladesh, Cambodia, Ethiopia, Pakistan, Serbia and South Sudan.

We’re also working with partners in some of the most fragile contexts, from Syria to the Central African Republic to prepare countries for the arrival of the virus.

There are many other examples.

We still have a chance of preventing a broader global crisis.

WHO will continue working night and day with all countries to prepare them.

Source: World Health Organisation (WHO)


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