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Saturday, February 15, 2020, 16:27
WHO chief: Joint mission with China on virus moving forward
By Reuters
Saturday, February 15, 2020, 16:27 By Reuters

In this undated photo, WHO Director General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus attends a press conference and makes a speech. (FABRICE COFFRINI / AFP)

GENEVA — The World Health Organization (WHO) Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus on Friday said that the international joint mission with China on the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) is moving forward, with the full team expected to reach China over the weekend.

Speaking through an online video system from Kinshasa, capital of the Democratic Republic of Congo, the WHO chief told a press briefing here that the team consists of 12 international and WHO experts and a similar number of their Chinese counterparts.

The China mission will include in-depth workshops' data review, a series of meetings with key national level institutions and field visits in three provinces to understand the application and impact of response activities at province and country levels, including urban and rural areas

Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, Director-General, WHO

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"The China mission will include in-depth workshops' data review, a series of meetings with key national level institutions and field visits in three provinces to understand the application and impact of response activities at province and country levels, including urban and rural areas," he said.

Tedros said that one of the goals of the joint mission is to rapidly inform (the public of) the next steps in the COVID-19 response and preparedness activities in China and globally.

"Particular attention will be paid to understanding the transmission of the virus, the severity of disease and the impact of ongoing response measures," he said.

Furthermore, he said, it will be important to review which type of information is needed so that the world can use this window of opportunity to prepare health systems and workers for possible outbreaks.

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"I want to say again from my heart that this is the time for solidarity not stigma," he stressed at the end of his opening speech.

Earlier this week, the WHO head urged countries to calm down, saying that "no panic, no fear, and try to do the right things with solidarity."

"China is doing many good things that (are) slowing the virus, and the facts speak for themselves," he said. "This has to be recognized, and the whole world is seeing this."


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