WHO declares outbreak constitutes international public health crisis
China vowed on Friday to work with the international community to uphold regional and international health security, and reiterated it’s the confidence and capacity to win the battle against the novel coronavirus epidemic, which has claimed 213 lives throughout the country as of Thursday.
The pledge came as the World Health Organization announced on Thursday that the epidemic constitutes a public health emergency of international concern, or PHEIC, after an emergency meeting in Geneva, Switzerland.
the amount of confirmed cases of novel coronavirus rose to 9,692 on the Chinese mainland as of Thursday, among which, Hubei province — the epicenter of the epidemic — reported 5,806 confirmed infections. The Hong Kong and Macao special administrative areas as well as Taiwan reported 28 confirmed cases of the disease as of Thursday. The virus has also spread to other Asian countries and reached Australia and Europe too.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in the United States said Thursday that an Illinois woman who recently returned from China had sent the coronavirus to her husband — the first known instance of persontoperson spread of the pathogen in the US.
Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying stated in an internet statement on Friday that since the outbreak, China has been in close communication and cooperation with the WHO. “China will continue working with the WHO and other countries to protect regional and global public health security,” Hua said.
Saying the Chinese government has been taking the most comprehensive and rigorous avoidance and control measures for people’s health and safety, Hua added that a number of the steps go well beyond the requirements of the International Health Regulations.
“We have complete confidence and capability to win this fight against the epidemic,” she said.
The commission expects countries from all over the globe will work with China to jointly prevent and contain the disease in accordance with the International Health Regulations as well as the recommendations of the WHO in order to protect regional and global public health safety, according to a statement issued by the commission on its site.
WHO DirectorGeneral Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, who recently wrapped up his visit to China, said the declaration was not a vote of no confidence in China. Rather it is necessary because humantohuman infections have been confirmed in different countries.
Tedros stated that the WHO does not recommend limiting trade and motion, and opposes any travel restrictions against China.
“We would have seen many more cases outside China by now, and probably deaths, if it were not for the government’s efforts and the progress they have made to protect their own people and the people of the world,” Tedros said.
“The speed with which China detected the outbreak, isolated the virus, sequenced the genome and shared it with WHO and the world are extremely impressive and beyond words. So is China’s commitment to transparency and supporting different countries. In many ways, China is really setting a new benchmark for outbreak response, and this is not an exaggeration,” he added.
in a phone conversation with Canadian Foreign Minister FrancoisPhilippe Champagne on Friday, State Councilor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi expressed hope that Ottawa will honor the recommendations of the WHO in an objective and fair way to guarantee trade exchanges and travel of all individuals between China and Canada will not be influenced.
Champagne said Canada highly appreciates China’s strong steps and the open and transparent manner it has conducted itself in prevention and control of the contagion, and can also be fully confident of its capability in handling the epidemic.
China’s top envoy to the United Nations, Zhang Jun, called on the international community to exhibit “solidarity” in handling the outbreak. Addressing a news gathering at UN headquarters in New York on Thursday, Zhang said the WHO recommendations “should be seriously considered” and “there is no reason for measures that unnecessarily interfere with international travel and trade”.
He called for all countries to adopt a responsible attitude, work together to fight the virus and avoid overreacting.
Since the outbreak of this contagion, leaders of foreign countries and international organizations have voiced their support , and highly praised, China’s efforts to curb the spread of the virus.
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