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WHO official praises China's 'proactive' response to coronavirus outbreak

Updated: Feb 03,2020 09:39 PM    Xinhua

MANILA — A senior official of the World Health Organization (WHO) on Feb 3 praised China for its "proactive" effort to curb the spread of the novel coronavirus.

"WHO acknowledges the proactive role that China has played right from the beginning of this outbreak, transparently sharing information as it becomes available, sharing knowledge," WHO Representative in the Philippines Rabindra Abeyasinghe said at a press conference.

"The identification of the pathogen per se, defining its whole genome sequence, and sharing diagnostics, also sharing information about the clinical presentations, the manifestations and how the patients are managed, all of that has been valuable in helping WHO better understand this disease," he added.

"We are very appreciative of those efforts of the Chinese government," Abeyasinghe said.

Chinese health authorities said on Feb 3 it received reports of 17,205 confirmed cases of novel coronavirus infection and 361 deaths by the end of Feb 2 from the Chinese mainland.

A total of 475 people had been discharged from the hospital after recovery.

Abeyasinghe said the 2019 novel coronavirus, officially known now as the 2019-nCoV acute respiratory disease, "is unprecedented in global public health."

He said the WHO is encouraged by the measures China is implementing not only to contain the outbreak in Wuhan, the capital city of central Hubei province, and other areas in China, but also to prevent the virus from spreading to other countries.

"We are closely looking at its effectiveness and what its relevance would be for future global efforts in containing these kinds of epidemics," he said.

Moreover, Abeyasinghe said the WHO appreciates the early efforts of the Chinese government in imposing a travel ban for tour groups to travel abroad and in the early implementation of exit scrutiny to screen people leaving China.

"These are important experiences that WHO is trying to understand and see what is replicable and good so that we can learn from these experiences on their potential usefulness," he said.

Abeyasinghe added the WHO continues to work on the ground with Chinese specialists to better understand what is necessary to help control the disease in China.

The WHO last week declared a public health emergency of international concern to improve international coordination in containing the disease.