As the outbreak of pneumonia in China caused by novel coronavirus has raised global concerns, Chinese Ambassador to India said that Beijing will attend the International Health Regulations Emergency Committee meeting on January 22. Sun Weidong took to Twitter to assure that the Chinese government has made comprehensive deployment on prevention and control, and shared information of the epidemic with the World Health Organisation (WHO) and relevant nations.
The Chinese envoy said that affected countries, the WHO, and subject matter experts will share information to come up with a science-based evaluation. Weidong added that the Chinese government is acting with a ‘high sense of responsibility’ and committed to working in sync with the international community.
#China will continue to deepen international cooperation and work in concert with the international community to deal with the epidemic and safeguard regional and global health security.— Sun Weidong (@China_Amb_India) January 22, 2020
According to media reports, at least nine deaths and 440 cases have been reported because of the pneumonia outbreak. Airports across the world, including India, are kept on high alert with regard to incoming flights from China, especially Wuhan, the Chinese city with the most number of cases.
The novel coronavirus is a new strain in the large family of coronaviruses (CoV) which was previously not identified in humans. CoV causes illness ranging from the common cold to more severe diseases such as Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS-CoV) and Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS-CoV).
CoV is zoonotic which means such viruses transmit between animals and humans but Chinese health authorities have now confirmed human to human transmission of the SARS-like virus, creating fears of a possible pandemic.
“There has already been human-to-human transmission and infection of medical workers,” said Li Bin, Deputy Director of the National Health Commission.
“Evidence has shown that the disease has been transmitted through the respiratory tract and there is the possibility of viral mutation,” Li added.
Earlier, the WHO had said that the possibility of cases of the new virus outside China was not unexpected and it reinforced the agency’s calls for active monitoring and preparedness in other countries. It said that the genetic sequences shared by China can be used to rapidly diagnose such patients, adding that the WHO has issued guidance on how to detect and treat persons ill with the new virus.