13 February 2020 | News
Novel Corona Virus 2019-nCoV to be addressed as COVID-19 globally hereafter
Photo credit: WHO Twitter account
WHO has renamed the 2019-nCoV to COVID-19, under agreed guidelines between WHO, the World Organisation for Animal Health and the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations to represent the entire viral outbreak under one category as "Corona Virus Disease" (COVID).
Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, Director-General of WHO mentioned that, “Having a name matters to prevent the use of other names that can be inaccurate or stigmatizing. It also gives us a standard format to use for any future coronavirus outbreaks.”
To indicate the global spread of Coronavirus, the new name do not refer to a geographical location, an animal, an individual or group of people.
WHO has engaged network of country representatives, as well as the United Nations resident coordinators in countries, to brief them on the outbreak and inform them about the steps they can take. WHO has also agreed to leverage the power of the entire UN system in the response.
WHO has activated a UN Crisis Management Team on 11 Feb 2020, to be led by general, Dr Mike Ryan who will coordinate the whole UN response. This will help WHO focus on the health response while the other agencies can bring their expertise to bear on the wider social, economic and developmental implications of the outbreak.
WHO hosted a meeting of more than 400 scientists from around the world on 11th and 12th Feb 2020, both in person and virtually to bring the world together to coordinate the response and to highlight the essence of multilateralism. The committee also highlights the crucial need for the formation of a research roadmap necessary for research funding organizations to have a clear sense of what the public health priorities are, so they can make investments that deliver the biggest public health impact.
“The development of vaccines and therapeutics is one important part of the research agenda – but it is only one part. They will take time to develop, but in the meantime, we are not defenceless. There are many basic public health interventions that are available to us now, and which can prevent infections now. The first vaccine could be ready in 18 months, so we have to do everything today using the available weapons to fight this virus, while preparing for the long-term.” Say Dr Tedros.
“It’s also important to remember that while we need investment in research and development, we also need investment in stopping this outbreak now. Last week, WHO issued a call for $675 million, which is what the world needs to support preparedness and response operations in countries” he added.
WHO reports indicates, 42,708 confirmed cases reported in China, and have now surpassed 1000 deaths - 1017 people in China have lost their lives to this virus. Most of the cases and most of the deaths are in Hubei province, Wuhan by 11 Feb 2020. Outside China, there are 393 cases in 24 countries, and 1 death.”
“WHO has sent supplies to countries to diagnose and treat patients and protect health workers. Countries have also been advised on how to prevent the spread of disease and care for those who are sick. WHO is also strengthening lab capacity all over the world and training thousands of health workers. Public has been educated to protect their own health and that of others. We thank those countries that have contributed so far, and we call on all those who haven’t to contribute urgently” says The Director-General.