WHO Warns World Not Ready For Major Disease Outbreak As COVID-19 Continues To Spread In Europe, Middle East, Asia

New York Times: As Fears of a Pandemic Mount, WHO Says World Is Not Ready
“As new cases of the coronavirus spiked on two continents, the World Health Organization warned on Monday that the world was not ready for a major outbreak, even as it praised China’s aggressive efforts to wrest the epidemic under control…” (Myers et al., 2/24).

POLITICO: Brussels thinks global on coronavirus, but local fears mount
“…Monday was supposed to be all about Europe’s global cooperation to block the spread of coronavirus in Africa. Instead, as the death toll in Italy ticked up, E.U. officials found themselves on the defensive about free movement within the bloc. ‘This is a global challenge,’ said Janez Lenarčič, the Commission’s emergency response chief, as he announced €232 million in new funding to fight the outbreak. … The coronavirus will be a top agenda item when Commission officials gather in Ethiopia for meetings with their African Union counterparts later this week…” (Wheaton et al., 2/24).

STAT: WHO tells countries to prepare for coronavirus pandemic, but insists it’s too soon to make that call
“The World Health Organization said the coronavirus outbreak that has swept from China to a number of countries in Asia, the Middle East, and Europe is not yet a pandemic, but it urged countries to prepare for its arrival on the assumption that a declaration may come. Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said countries should be working to protect health workers, engaging groups that are at highest risk — for instance, the elderly — and striving to contain spread of the virus to the highest degree possible to slow its arrival in countries that don’t have the means to respond to its threat…” (Branswell, 2/24).

Wall Street Journal: Coronavirus’s Global Spread May Not Be Contained, WHO Says
“The World Health Organization said Monday it isn’t yet clear whether the coronavirus can be stopped from spreading further globally, as growing outbreaks in Italy, South Korea, and Iran heightened concerns. … The virus could be contained, develop a regular pattern of continual or seasonal transmission, or become a pandemic, said Michael Ryan, the WHO’s chief of health emergencies, speaking at a news conference…” (McKay et al., 2/24).

Additional coverage of the spread of and responses to COVID-19 is available from New Humanitarian, New York Times (2), NPR (2) (3), Reuters, Science Speaks (2), STAT, Telegraph, and Wall Street Journal.

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