GENEVA, February 14. /TASS/. The World Health Organization (WHO) mission to China will include 12 international specialists and their 12 Chinese colleagues, WHO Director General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus told a briefing in Geneva on Friday.
Addressing the briefing attendees via television link from Kinshasa where he travelled to for a visit, the WHO chief underscored, "I’m glad to say that the WHO-led Joint Mission with China on COVID-19 is moving forward. We expect the full team to touch down over the weekend." "The mission consists of 12 international and WHO experts and a similar number of national expert counterparts from the People’s Republic of China," Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus added.
The experts will hold meetings with representatives of key Chinese institutes and pay visits to three provinces to study measures to counter the disease outbreak taken by local and national authorities, he noted. The aim is to quickly inform about next steps in containing the coronavirus spread and the necessary preparation works in China and the rest of the world. Experts will focus on learning more about the issues relating to transmission of the coronavirus, the degree of danger that the virus poses and how effective the measures undertaken are.
"The [Chinese] vice minister of the national health commission has said that as of Tuesday 1716 health care workers have been infected, and six have died [in China]," the WHO head stressed, adding that the WHO needs to "know more about this figure, including the time period and circumstances in which the health workers became sick." "This is a critical piece of information, because health workers are the glue that holds the health system and outbreak response together," Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus pointed out.
A pneumonia outbreak caused by the COVID-19 virus (previously called 2019-nCoV) was reported in China’s city of Wuhan - a large trade and industrial center in central China populated by 11 million people - in late December. The WHO declared it a global emergency, describing the outbreak as an epidemic with multiple foci.
The virus spread to 24 more countries, apart from China: Australia, Belgium, Cambodia, Canada, Finland, France, Germany, Japan, India, Italy, Malaysia, Nepal, the Philippines, Russia, Singapore, South Korea, Spain, Sri Lanka, Sweden, Thailand, the United Arab Emirates, the United Kingdom, the United States and Vietnam. The WHO declared the coronavirus outbreak in China a global health emergency. Chinese authorities have confirmed more than 63,800 cases of the disease, over 1,300 people died, while over 6,700 people are reported to have recovered.