The World Health Organization stated Tuesday that the outbreak of the lethal novel coronavirus, which has unfold from China to 2 dozen international locations, doesn’t but represent a “pandemic”.
“Currently we are not in a pandemic,” Sylvie Briand, head of WHO’s Global Infectious Hazard Preparedness division, instructed reporters in Geneva.
Instead, she stated, “we are at the phase where it is an epidemic with multiple foci.”
The illness has killed greater than 425 folks and contaminated an extra 20,000 in China, practically all of them in central Hubei province – the epicentre of the outbreak — and unfold to two-dozen international locations because it emerged in December.
Briand stated that whereas there’s a speedy unfold of transmission in Hubei, exterior the province there are primarily “spillover cases” with sporadic clusters of transmission.
“In these other places in China, the strategy currently is to stop transmission,” she stated, including that the identical was true for affected international locations exterior of China.
“We would like to make sure that we don’t have a second Hubei type of scenario,” she stated.
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Authorities in China have taken dramatic measures to halt transmission, whereas different affected international locations have put in place steps to rein within the unfold.
Wearing masks ‘Not Enough’
“Countries are implementing early case detection, early isolation and treatment of patients, contact tracing to make sure they identify very early contacts that become symptomatic,” Briand identified.
“We hope that based on … measures in Hubei but also in other places where we have had spillover, we can stop transmission and get rid of this virus,” she stated.
She acknowledged that halting the unfold of the brand new pneumonia-like virus can be “challenging”.
“I am not saying it is easy, but … we believe that it can be done,” she stated.
The respiratory illness spreads by way of droplets, for example when folks sneeze or cough, or doubtless by way of direct contact with contaminated folks or with objects they’ve touched.
But Briand stated it remained unclear how lengthy the virus may linger on an object, stressing the necessity for frequent hand-washing to guard towards transmission.
“To stop transmission of this virus, it is very important that sick people wear masks” to keep away from infecting others, she stated, including although the advantages of wholesome folks carrying masks as a precautionary measure have been much less clear.
People carrying masks however not taking different precautions like steadily washing their arms may have a “false sense of security”, she stated.
“Masks alone are not enough. It is a package of measures that you have to put in place,” she stated.
“If people use the entire package, it is fine. If they just use masks, I think it is not enough.”