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Coronavirus: Global preparedness, response plan requires $675m – WHO

The World Health Organisation (WHO), says the international community has launched the $675 million preparedness and response plan to fight further spread of the novel Coronavirus (2019-nCoV) in China and globally.

An health official attend to a coronavirus patient in China

The world health body made this known in a statement on Wednesday, February 5, 2020.

WHO stated that the plan would run from February to April, and also protect states with weaker health systems.

Dr Tedros Ghebreyesus, WHO Director-General, said: “My biggest worry is that there are countries today which do not have the systems in place to detect people who have contracted the virus, even if it were to emerge.

“Urgent support is needed to bolster weak health systems to detect, diagnose and care for people with the virus, to prevent further human-to-human transmission and protect health workers,” Ghebreyesus said.

Also, Dr Mike Ryan, Head of WHO’s Health Emergencies Programme, said that the effectiveness of outbreak response depends on the preparedness measures put in place before outbreaks strike.

“That is why we are seeking resources to safeguard the most vulnerable countries to protect people from the new Coronavirus before it arrives on the doorsteps,” Ryan said.

WHO said that the Strategic Preparedness and Response Plan (SPRP) launched lays out activities and resources needed by international health organisations globally, including WHO, to implement priority public health measures in support of countries to prepare and respond to nCoV-2019.

“The objectives of the plan are to limit human-to-human transmission of the virus, particularly in countries most vulnerable if they were to face an outbreak; identify, isolate and care for patients early.

“Communicate critical risk and event information; minimise social and economic impact; reduce virus spread from animal sources; and address crucial unknowns,” it said.

WHO said that the plan focusses on rapidly establishing international coordination and operational support; scaling up country’s readiness and response operations; and accelerating priority research and innovation.

The statement said that the SPRP assesses that the outbreak poses very high risk in China, and high risk regionally and globally.

It said that the risk assessment was based on factors including the likelihood of further spread, potential impact on human health, and the varying levels of effectiveness in national preparedness and response measures.

The health agency said that accelerated action, as called for in the plan, could address these risks and areas requiring support.

WHO said that as of 10.00a.m. Central European Time on Feb. 5, 25 countries have reported confirmed cases of the 2019-nCoV including China, where 24,363 people had contracted the virus, or over 99 per cent of all cases.

It disclosed that 191 people have contracted the virus in other countries.

By Oluwafunke Ishola

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