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The head of the World Health Organization’s Health Emergencies Program has said the “whole world needs to be on alert” to fight the coronavirus. As the virus has spread across China and to at least 16 countries globally.
Dr Mike Ryan praised China’s response to the deadly outbreak, saying: “The challenge is great but the response has been massive.” The WHO will meet on Thursday to discuss whether the virus constitutes a global health emergency.
The Chinese city of Wuhan is the epicentre of the outbreak, but it has spread across China and to at least 16 countries globally, including Thailand, France, the US and Australia.
More than 130 people have died in China and close to 6,000 have been infected
There is no specific cure or vaccine for the new Wuhan coronavirus, however number of people have recovered after treatment.
The WHO’s Dr Ryan said an international team of experts was being assembled to go to China. There the experts will learn more about how the disease is transmitted.
“We are at an important juncture in this event. We believe these chains of transmission can still be interrupted,” he said.
Scientists in Australia have managed to recreate the new coronavirus outside of China. Raising hope that it could be used to develop an early-diagnosis test.
China needs the world’s solidarity over threat
WHO director-general Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, who visited China this week, said most people who contracted the new coronavirus were suffering only “milder symptoms”. However about 20% had severe effects such as pneumonia and respiratory failure, the BBC reports.
He said that China “needs the world’s solidarity and support,” and that “the world is pulling together to end the outbreak, building on lessons learned from past outbreaks.”
The director-general added that the WHO “deeply regrets” referring to the worldwide risk from the new coronavirus as “moderate” in three reports last week instead of “high”.
He described the person-to-person spread of the illness in Germany, Vietnam and Japan as worrying. He also said experts would consider on Thursday whether to declare a global emergency.
Meanwhile, in Whuan the city’s residents are enduring an isolated, frightening time. Most forms of traffic have been banned, and 11 million people are shut up in their homes. Above all trying to minimize the spread of the virus.
Videos have emerged online of neighbours shouting “Wuhan jiayou!” out of their windows.- Roughly translated to “Stay strong Wuhan!” or “Keep on going Wuhan”.
British Airways Suspends all Flights to China
British Airways has suspended all direct flights to and from mainland China due to the new coronavirus. The suspension comes after Britain warned against all but essential travel to the China due to the coronavirus outbreak.
BA.com, the airline’s website, shows no direct flights to China are available in January and February.
“We apologize to customers for the inconvenience, but the safety of our customers and crew is always our priority.” British Airways said in an emailed statement on Wednesday.
“Customers due to travel to or from China in the coming days can find more information on BA.com.”