Statement on the second meeting of the International Health Regulations (2005) Emergency Committee regarding the outbreak of novel coronavirus (2019-nCoV)
30 January 2020 Statement
Proceedings of the meeting
…The Chair then reviewed the agenda for the meeting and introduced the presenters.
Representatives of the Ministry of Health of the People’s Republic of China reported on the current situation and the public health measures being taken. There are now 7711 confirmed and 12167 suspected cases throughout the country. Of the confirmed cases, 1370 are severe and 170 people have died. 124 people have recovered and been discharged from hospital.
The WHO Secretariat provided an overview of the situation in other countries. There are now 83 cases in 18 countries. Of these, only 7 had no history of travel in China. There has been human-to-human transmission in 3 countries outside China. One of these cases is severe and there have been no deaths…
Conclusions and advice
…The Committee also acknowledged that there are still many unknowns, cases have now been reported in five WHO regions in one month, and human-to-human transmission has occurred outside Wuhan and outside China.
The Committee believes that it is still possible to interrupt virus spread, provided that countries put in place strong measures to detect disease early, isolate and treat cases, trace contacts, and promote social distancing measures commensurate with the risk. It is important to note that as the situation continues to evolve, so will the strategic goals and measures to prevent and reduce spread of the infection. The Committee agreed that the outbreak now meets the criteria for a Public Health Emergency of International Concern and proposed the following advice to be issued as Temporary Recommendations.
The Committee emphasized that the declaration of a PHEIC should be seen in the spirit of support and appreciation for China, its people, and the actions China has taken on the frontlines of this outbreak, with transparency, and, it is to be hoped, with success. In line with the need for global solidarity, the Committee felt that a global coordinated effort is needed to enhance preparedness in other regions of the world that may need additional support for that.
Advice to WHO
The Committee welcomed a forthcoming WHO multidisciplinary technical mission to China, including national and local experts. The mission should review and support efforts to investigate the animal source of the outbreak, the clinical spectrum of the disease and its severity, the extent of human-to-human transmission in the community and in healthcare facilities, and efforts to control the outbreak. This mission will provide information to the international community to aid in understanding the situation and its impact and enable sharing of experience and successful measures…
Measures to ensure rapid development and access to potential vaccines, diagnostics, antiviral medicines and other therapeutics for low- and middle-income countries should be developed…
WHO should continue to explore the advisability of creating an intermediate level of alert between the binary possibilities of PHEIC or no PHEIC, in a way that does not require reopening negotiations on the text of the IHR (2005).
WHO should timely review the situation with transparency and update its evidence-based recommendations.
The Committee does not recommend any travel or trade restriction based on the current information available.
The Director-General declared that the outbreak of 2019-nCoV constitutes a PHEIC and accepted the Committee’s advice and issued this advice as Temporary Recommendations under the IHR.
[See additional announcement text here for]:
…To the People’s Republic of China
…To all countries
…To the global community
As this is a new coronavirus, and it has been previously shown that similar coronaviruses required substantial efforts to enable regular information sharing and research, the global community should continue to demonstrate solidarity and cooperation, in compliance with Article 44 of the IHR (2005), in supporting each other on the identification of the source of this new virus, its full potential for human-to-human transmission, preparedness for potential importation of cases, and research for developing necessary treatment.
Provide support to low- and middle-income countries to enable their response to this event, as well as to facilitate access to diagnostics, potential vaccines and therapeutics.
Under Article 43 of the IHR, States Parties implementing additional health measures that significantly interfere with international traffic (refusal of entry or departure of international travellers, baggage, cargo, containers, conveyances, goods, and the like, or their delay, for more than 24 hours) are obliged to send to WHO the public health rationale and justification within 48 hours of their implementation. WHO will review the justification and may request countries to reconsider their measures. WHO is required to share with other States Parties the information about measures and the justification received.
The Emergency Committee will be reconvened within three months or earlier, at the discretion of the Director-General.