China probably prevented thousands of coronavirus cases: WHO

Published February 24, 2020
Bruce Aylward of the World Health Organisation attends a news conference of the WHO-China Joint Mission on Covid-19 about its investigation of the outbreak in Beijing on Feb 24. — Reuters
Bruce Aylward of the World Health Organisation attends a news conference of the WHO-China Joint Mission on Covid-19 about its investigation of the outbreak in Beijing on Feb 24. — Reuters

China's “incredibly difficult measures” in tackling the coronavirus that emerged late last year has probably prevented hundreds of thousands of cases in the country, the head of a visiting World Health Organisation (WHO) delegation said.

Bruce Aylward, speaking at a joint press briefing with officials from China's National Health Commission (NHC), said multiple data sources supported the general downward trend in the number infections being reported by the commission despite some statistical issues observed in recent weeks.

The WHO team in recent days inspected various parts of China including Wuhan, the capital of Hubei province and the epicentre of the outbreak.

The NHC earlier on Monday reported 409 new coronavirus cases, down from 648 a day earlier, as China began to unwind transport and travel curbs put in place since January to keep the virus from spreading further.

More than 20 province level jurisdictions including Beijing and Shanghai reported zero infections, the best showing since the outbreak began.

Top leaders including President Xi Jinping have continued to preach vigilance, however, exhorting the public to keep its guard up.

The virus has killed nearly 2,600 people in mainland China alone and infected nearly 80,000 to date.

More than 3,000 medical staff in China had been infected by the new coronavirus, National Health Commission official Liang Wannian told reporters, underscoring the threat posed by the virus.

"Those infections mostly occurred in Hubei and were likely due to the lack of protective gear and fatigue," he said.

Opinion

Editorial

On a leash
Updated 22 Feb, 2024

On a leash

Shehbaz will not find it easy to introduce the much-needed major changes to the economy without running into resistance.
Shameful veto
22 Feb, 2024

Shameful veto

THE US has scored a hat-trick by vetoing, for the third time, a resolution in the UN Security Council calling for an...
Truth under threat
22 Feb, 2024

Truth under threat

AS WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange mounts a last-ditch effort against being extradited from the UK to the US, one...
Silencing the public
Updated 21 Feb, 2024

Silencing the public

Acting as if it is unaccountable, it is now curtailing citizens’ digital rights without even bothering to come up with a justification.
Fitch’s concern
Updated 21 Feb, 2024

Fitch’s concern

It warns that “near-term political uncertainty may complicate the country’s efforts to secure a financing agreement with the IMF to succeed the Stand-by Arrangement”.
Zoo zealotry
Updated 21 Feb, 2024

Zoo zealotry

IN a bizarre twist of faith and fur, the Indian right-wing Hindu nationalist group, Vishwa Hindu Parishad, has...