The World Health Organization (WHO) in a press briefing said on Tuesday evening that China’s measures to contain the outbreak have provided a “window of opportunity” to stop the COVID-19 virus from spreading further abroad.
Here are some key takeaways from the press briefing with WHO chief Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus:
- The risk of the virus spreading more around the globe remains high, but “this is still first and foremost an emergency for China.”
- Countries have been advised not to impose trade or travel restrictions on China as such measures cause “fear and stigma.”
- The WHO is sending 250,000 tests virus tests to laboratories around the world to help speed up the testing process.
- So far, there have been 27 cases of person-to-person transmission of the virus outside of China.
- Wealthier countries were criticized for not sharing data about virus cases. The WHO has only received complete information about 38% of the cases reported outside of China.
The infection is now more widespread than the 2002-2003 severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS) outbreak, which also originated in China, in terms of affected people but not deaths.
Here is what you need to know:
Coronaviruses are a family of viruses that cause illness ranging from the common cold to more severe diseases such as SARS and Middle East respiratory syndrome (MERS).
These viruses were originally transmitted between animals and people. SARS, for instance, was believed to have been transmitted from civet cats to humans while MERS travelled from a type of camel to humans.
Several known coronaviruses are circulating in animals that have not yet infected humans.
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