WHO not to declare nCoV as global health emergency yet

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(200123) -- GENEVA, Jan. 23, 2020 (Xinhua) -- Photo taken on Jan. 22, 2020 shows an exterior view of the headquarters of the World Health Organization (WHO) in Geneva, Switzerland. The WHO on Wednesday night extended to Thursday its emergency talks on whether the novel coronavirus outbreak in China constitutes a Public Health Emergency of International Concern (PHEIC). (Xinhua/Liu Qu)

New Delhi: The emergency committee, set up by the World Health Organisation over the ongoing outbreak of Novel Coronavirus in China’s Wuhan city, on Thursday concluded that the event did not constitute a Public Health Emergency of International Concern (PHEIC).

The emergency committee, convened by the WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom under the International Health Regulations (IHR) (2005), however, 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.

The committee, which was divided over whether the outbreak represented a PHEIC or not, said that it was to meet again in approximately ten days of time or earlier, as and when the Director-General deemed it necessary.

In a statement released on Thursday, the committee said that 584 cases had been reported to the WHO, including 17 deaths. As many as 575 of those cases and all of the deaths had been reported in China, with other cases reported in Japan, South Korea, Singapore, Thailand, the US and Vietnam.

The committee said that it was aware of media reports about suspected cases in other countries, “but those cases are still being investigated”, said the statement.

The observations by the committee suggested that it was expected that further international exportation of cases might appear in any country. Thus, all countries should be prepared for containment, including active surveillance, early detection, isolation and case management, contact tracing and prevention of onward spread of 2019-nCoV infection, and to share full data with WHO.

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