In response to worldwide concern over the coronavirus outbreak and on the back of a growing number of travel bans, the head of the World Health Organization, Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, called for caution and evidence before proceeding with extreme measures, urging member countries to “invest in preparedness” not “panic”.
“We call on all countries to implement decisions that are evidence-based and consistent,” he said addressing an executive board meeting in Geneva, this week, adding however that the world may be “dangerously” ill-prepared for a pandemic.
Tedros was referring to China, which is facing growing international isolation following travel bans and flight restrictions.
According to reports today (Tuesday), there are currently at least 20,438 people in China infected by the Wuhan coronavirus – up by 3,235 in just one day – 425 fatalities, and more than 151 confirmed cases in 23 countries.
WHO declared the Huwan virus a global health emergency last week, but is still not calling it a “pandemic”.
Tedros noted that the “continued increase in cases and the evidence of human-to-human transmission outside of China” were “most deeply disturbing”.
Earlier this week, The US announced that foreigners seen as posing a risk of transmitting the disease will temporarily be denied entry while returning American citizens may face quarantine.
Health experts are expecting the virus to become a pandemic defined as a global epidemic, crossing international boundaries and usually affecting a large number of people.
Meanwhile, Greece’s National Public Health Organization (EODY) issued guidelines this week to all travel and tourism services providers in efforts to eliminate the potential spread of the coronavirus (2019-nCoV).