By Jeffrey Damicog
Though there is only one confirmed death outside of China, the World Health Organization (WHO) on Tuesday, Feb. 11 admitted the 2019 novel coronavirus (2019-nCoV) remains “a very grave threat” to the world.
“With 99% of cases in China, this remains very much an emergency for that country, but one that holds a very grave threat for the rest of the world. Unless we use the window of opportunity that we have now,” read the speech of WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus during the research and innovation forum also posted on its website.
Citing latest reports the WHO received, Ghebreyesus said there are 42,708 confirmed cases reported in China where 1,017 persons have died from the virus.
“Outside China, there are 393 cases in 24 countries, with 1 death, in the Philippines,” he noted.
The WHO chief admitted that the “outbreak is testing us in many ways.”
“It’s a test of political solidarity – whether the world can come together to fight a common enemy that does not respect borders or ideologies,” he said.
“It’s a test of financial solidarity – whether the world will invest now in fighting this outbreak, or pay more later to deal with its consequences.”
“And it’s a test of scientific solidarity – will the world come together to find shared answers to shared problems?”
Meanwhile, Ghebreyesus disclosed that the WHO is mapping out “roadmap for research around which researchers and donors will align.”
“The bottom line is solidarity, solidarity, solidarity,” stressed the WHO chief.
“To defeat this outbreak, we need open and equitable sharing, according to the principles of fairness and equity,” he added.
Ghebreyesus assured “WHO remains committed to equitable access to health products for populations that need them, and we will work to ensure that access is always part of all R&D efforts.”
“Publications, patents and profits are not what matters now,” he pointed out.