By Temitope Akintoye,
The World Health Organisation (WHO) has reviewed its classification of global risk presented by the deadly coronavirus from high to ‘very high’after considering rate at which new cases of the infection has spread into new countries outside its epicenter, China.
The global health body explained that recent increase in rapidity of spread and especially spread of the virus to Africa, with six countries reporting their first cases, had occasioned the review of level of risk being presented to the world, by the novel virus.
WHO head, Tedros Ghebreyesus, explained that the organisation had not underestimated the virus but followed best practice and protocol for making classifications in order to manage public reaction, control mass panic and out out accurate summation of the true position of the viral infection.
Ghebreyesus, while speaking to newsmen on Friday, in Geneva, stated that there were expected variables upon which level of global threat of any epidemic could be measured by the body and that due diligence had been done to make sure that proper categorization of the coronavirus had been done per time.
He stated that mainland China had reported 329 new cases in the last 24 hours, the lowest there in more than a month, taking its tally to more than 78,800 cases with almost 2,800 deaths, adding that such statistics showed that there was marked reduction in corona virus infections in the country and that it suggested that the disease had peaked in China, and was now on decline.
The health organisation head, however, reiterated that despite the evident slump in Chinese figures, rates of infection outside disease epicenter had increased with countries such as Mexico, Nigeria, Estonia, Denmark, the Netherlands and Lithuania reporting their first cases, all with travel history connected to Italy which is worst-affected European country.
He listed that the countries also included Mexico and Brazil, amongst others, and explained that such rapid spread raised cause for concern, thus necessitating the epidemic being classified as high risk to health and well being of the world.
“We have to classify the risk as ‘very high’ rather than ‘high’ due to recent wave of spread of the virus to new countries, despite obvious reduction in spate of infection in China”.
It would be recalled that Nigeria had, in the early hours of today, reported its first confirmed case of coronavirus and begun a frantic manhunt for all who had come in contact with the patient before he was quarantined.
Sources in China revealed that several cases had been recorded of patients who had been successfully treated being reinfected with the virus, thus, negating previous information that successfully treated patients had some time frame of immunity during which they could not be infected again and which also factored in to the WHO review of status of risk being posed to the world by coronavirus.
Ghebreyesus noted that the body was closely monitoring the situation and was ready with all necessary help needed by the affected country in the fight against the viral menace, coronavirus.