The World Health Organisation (WHO) chief called coronavirus outbreak ‘a very grave threat’ for the rest of the world even if 99% of the cases remain restricted to mainland China. As per reports, while speaking at the global research and innovation forum in Geneva, WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said it is hard to believe that the virus was completely unknown to them two months ago.
Ghebreyesus reportedly said that the coronavirus outbreak is a test of political, financial, and scientific solidarity. He opined that it is the time to find whether the world can come together to fight a common enemy that does not respect borders or ideologies.
“Whether the world will invest now in fighting the coronavirus outbreak, or pay more later to deal with its consequences,” said the WHO chief, as per reports. "We need your collective knowledge, insight and experience to answer the questions we don’t have answers to, and to identify the questions we may not even realize we need to ask," he added.
The 54-year-old official admitted that there are several things they still don’t know about coronavirus, including its reservoirs, transmission dynamics and period of infectiousness among others. Ghebreyesus is further reported to have added that they don’t have a vaccine to prevent infections and no proven therapeutics to treat them. He said that they need answers to all those questions in order to contain the spread and treat the patients.
"Publications, patents and profits are not what matters most now. What matters most is stopping the coronavirus outbreak, and saving lives,” international media reported him saying.
Meanwhile, a leading public health epidemiologist from Hong Kong is reported to have warned that around two-thirds of the world’s population could get infected by the new coronavirus if it can not be controlled. The warning came after the WHO Director-General had said that transmission among people with no travel history to China could be the 'tip of the iceberg'. At least 1,000 people have died to the epidemic and more than 43,000 cases have been detected globally.