The World Health Organization declared an international emergency because of the coronavirus epidemic.
Many experts consider this decision to be overdue because the number of confirmed cases went over the 8,100 individuals globally who got sick during the SARS outbreak back in 2003.
The director general of the organization, Tedros Ghebreyesus explained that the major reason behind this decision isn’t just the situation in China, but in other countries too.
They’re concerned about the possibility of the virus spreading to other countries where the immunities are weaker and where there’s lack of preparation for dealing with these kind of outbreaks.
Public Health Emergency: A Crucial Step
This decision is a crucial symbolic step as it signals the seriousness of the epidemic of the respiratory illness caused by this coronavirus.
The WHO now has it easier in terms of the coordination of the government responses from around the world.
According to the International Health Regulations, to which all the 196 member states are committed, the WHO can demand specific measures at airports, ports, and ground crossings to prevent further spreading of the infection and prevent unwarranted travel and set trade restrictions.
Ghebreyesus said that the WHO opposes any limits on travel and trade against China and praised their efforts to keep the virus under control.
This is in no case a vote of zero confidence in China- on the contrary; he explained that they continue having enormous confidence in their ability to manage the crisis.
Latest WHO data shows that there are 7818 cases confirmed worldwide, 82 of which were outside of China, Taiwan, Macau, and Hong Kong.
According to the National Health Commission in China, there are 15,238 new cases suspected and suggests the numbers will rise over the next few days.
What Do other Public Health Experts Think of this Decision?
Health experts outside the WHO saluted their decision, but think it was long overdue.
Declaring an international emergency, according to director of Wellcome, a medical charity from London, Jeremy Farrar, helps sharpen the focus of governments of citizen protection.
He added that this virus is a reminder of our vulnerability to infectious illnesses, both known and unknown.