GENEVA, April 22. /TASS/. The World Health Organization (WHO) keeps investigating the animal origin of the novel coronavirus in cooperation with its partners, said Michael Ryan, the executive director of the WHO Health Emergencies Programme.
"I think it’s very important that we understand the animal origins of this disease. It’s clear that if the animal-human barrier has been breached once, it can be breached again. We need to understand where that has come from, what are the factors that have led to that, and how they can be prevented in future," he said.
"We have certainly offered that assistance to the government of China, but are also working very closely with our colleagues in FAO [Food and Agriculture Organization] and OIE [World Organization for Animal Health]," Ryan went on.
"We have a team working specifically on those issues very closely with OIE and FAO, and we’ll be delighted to work with international partners <…> in order to carry out a really good investigation around the animal origins and to really understand all of the factors associated with that," he added.
Ryan also commented on the possibility of easing or lifting lockdowns, warning that any attempt of this kind should be carried out in combination with a replacement strategy to boost a country’s health system.
"The danger is easing these so-called lockdowns without a replacement strategy. That’s the real danger," he said. "And there is always a danger - even with a replacement strategy - that there will be outbreaks. They can be managed, I believe, but exiting a lockdown without a strong public health strategy and a strong strategy to strengthen your health system is going to be difficult."
In late December 2019, Chinese officials notified the World Health Organization (WHO) about the outbreak of a previously unknown pneumonia in the city of Wuhan, in central China. Since then, cases of the novel coronavirus - named COVID-19 by the WHO - have been reported in every corner of the globe.
According to the latest statistics, over 2,500,000 people have been infected worldwide and more than 177,000 deaths have been reported. In addition, so far, over 696,000 individuals have recovered from the illness across the globe.