February 18, 2020

Impossible to predict direction outbreak will take — WHO

Osun State

The future is unknown as far as the COVID-19 epidemic is concerned, the World Health Organisation, WHO has warned.

Speaking on global health security weekend at the 56th Munich Security Conference, Director-General, WHO, Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, said the epidemic remains an unpredictable threat, urging governments to step up their efforts to prepare for the virus.

Tedros, who said the world is encouraged by the response to the outbreak so far, however, said the world also has concerns.

“Let me be clear: it is impossible to predict which direction this COVID-19 outbreak will take. What I can tell you is what encourages us, and what concerns us.

“We’re encouraged that the global research community has come together to identify and accelerate the most urgent research needs for COVID-19 diagnostics, treatments, and vaccines.

“We’re encouraged that an international team of experts is now on the ground in China, working closely with their Chinese counterparts to understand the COVID-19 outbreak, and to inform the next steps in the global response.

READ ALSO: Covid-19: ECOWAS ministers of health to strengthen regional preparedness

“But we also have several concerns. We’re concerned by the continued increase in the number of COVID-19 cases in China. We’re concerned by reports from China yesterday (Friday) about the number of health workers who have been infected or have died.

He said WHO was concerned by the lack of urgency in funding the COVID-19 response and the severe disruption in the market for personal protective equipment, which is putting front line health workers and carers at risk.

“We’re concerned about the level of rumours and misinformation that are hampering the COVID-19 response, and most of all, we’re concerned about the potential havoc this coronavirus could wreak in countries with weaker health systems.”

Tedros said the outbreaks of Ebola and COVID-19 underscore once again the vital importance for all countries to invest in preparedness, not panic.