By Aaron Recuenco and Analou De Vera
The World Health Organization (WHO) has developed a global strategic preparedness and response plan amid the growing threat of the worldwide spread of the 2019- novel Corona Virus (nCoV).
In its 15th Situation Report on nCoV-Acute Respiratory Disease (ARD), WHO stated that the plan was crafted based on what the agency and its partners have learned about the virus, and how the knowledge of the virus could be considered on the plans of action of affected countries to contain the virus.
“WHO and partners have developed a global strategic preparedness and response plan, which outlines the public health measures that the international community can provide support to all countries to prepare for and respond to the 2019‑nCoV outbreak,” the report read.
“The overall goal of the strategic preparedness and response plan is to stop further transmission of 2019‑nCoV within China and to other countries, and to mitigate the impact of the outbreak in all countries,” it added.
Among the objectives of the plan are: to limit human-to-human transmission, including reducing secondary infections among close contacts and healthcare workers, preventing transmission amplification events, and preventing further international spread from China; identify, isolate, and care for patients early, including providing optimized care for infected patients; identify and reduce transmission from the animal source; address crucial unknowns regarding clinical severity, extent of transmission and infection, treatment options, and accelerate the development of diagnostics, therapeutics, and vaccines; communicate critical risk and event information to all communities, and counter misinformation; and minimize social and economic impact through multi-sectoral partnerships.
The WHO will also send 500,000 masks, 350,000 pairs of gloves, 40,000 respirators, as well as 18,000 isolation gowns to 24 countries to help stop the further spread of nCoV.
WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said the organization has released a total of US$9 million from its own Contingency Fund for Emergencies.
The WHO will continue to support the Chinese government to address the novel coronavirus outbreak, particularly in Wuhan, China, said Tedros.
“We cannot defeat this outbreak without solidarity — political solidarity, technical solidarity, and financial solidarity,” he said.
“We understand that people are worried and concerned and rightly so. But this is not a time for fear, this is not a time for panic. It is a time for rational, evidence-based action and investment while we still have a window of opportunity to bring this outbreak under control,” he added.