Coronavirus: First case confirmed in Gulf region, more than 6,000 worldwide

UN News/Jing Zhang People wear face masks in the waiting area at China’s Shenzhen Bao’an International Airport.

This article is brought to you in association with the United Nations.


On Wednesday, the World Health Organization (WHO) confirmed that the coronavirus outbreak has now spread to the United Arab Emirates (UAE). The vast majority of cases continue to be declared in China, with more than 6,000 confirmed, 68 of them outside of the country.

‘The whole world needs to be on alert now’

WHO announced that four members of a family from Wuhan, who had travelled to the UAE earlier in January, were hospitalized on 25 and 27 January after testing positive for coronavirus. The virus has now spread to 15 countries: the cases in UAE mark the first time that a nation in the Eastern Mediterranean Region has been affected.

The Director-General of WHO, Tedros Ghebreyesus, confirmed on Wednesday that 68 cases of novel coronavirus have been confirmed outside of China. While this represents only one per cent of the total, the geographic spread is wide, with patients diagnosed in North America, Europe and Australia, as well as several countries in Southeast Asia.

At a press briefing in Geneva on Wednesday, Michael Ryan, the head of the WHO health emergencies programme, said that “the whole world needs to be on alert now. The whole world needs to take action and be ready for any cases that come from the epicentre or other epicentre that becomes established”.

The actions of the Chinese authorities have, he said, helped to slow the international spread of the virus, but it has not been halted: “The continued increase in cases and the evidence of human-to human transmission outside China are of course most deeply concerning. Although the numbers outside China are still relatively small, they hold the potential for a much larger outbreak”.

Over 9,000 suspected cases in China

On Wednesday, WHO announced that 1,239 of the confirmed cases in China are severe, and there have been 132 deaths attributed to the virus so far. There are now 9,239 suspected cases in the country. The WHO risk assessment for China is “very high”, whilst the regional and global assessment remains “high”.

The WHO’s senior leadership, including Mr. Ghebreyesus, met with Chinese President Xi Jinping on Tuesday to share information on the outbreak and reiterated their commitment to bring it under control.

Containment measures in Wuhan will be improved, said WHO, and public health measures in other Chinese cities and regions are being strengthened. WHO and Chinese authorities pledged to continue sharing data, and China will share biological material with WHO, with the aim of developing effective vaccines and treatments against the new virus strain.
WHO to assess global emergency risk on Thursday

On his return from China, Mr. Ghebreyesus welcomed the country’s invitation for WHO to assemble and lead an international team of experts to assess the coronavirus outbreak, and support their Chinese counterparts.

The WHO chief announced that the agency’s Emergency Committee will meet, for a second time, on Thursday, to decide whether or not the outbreak constitutes a Public Health Emergency of International Concern (PHEIC).

The previous meeting of the Committee ended on January 23 with a decision not to declare a PHEIC, although members were split on the issue.

UN sends protective clothing to virus-hit China

Meanwhile, the UN Children’s Fund, UNICEF, announced on Wednesday that it has shipped 6 metric tons of protective clothing for health workers battling the novel coronavirus in China.

The UNICEF supplies of respiratory masks and protective suits have landed in Shanghai, and will be sent to the city of Wuhan, where most of the cases have been found. UNICEF is planning to send more items in the coming days and weeks.

“This coronavirus is spreading at a breakneck speed and it is important to put all the necessary resources into halting it,” said UNICEF Executive Director Henrietta Fore. “We may not know enough about the virus’s impact on children or how many may be affected – but we do know that close monitoring and prevention are key. Time is not on our side.”

the sting Milestones

Featured Stings

Can we feed everyone without unleashing disaster? Read on

These campaigners want to give a quarter of the UK back to nature

How to build a more resilient and inclusive global system

Stopping antimicrobial resistance would cost just USD 2 per person a year

Here are 10 of Nelson Mandela’s most inspirational quotes

Innovation can transform the way we solve the world’s water challenges

Can indoor farming feed the world?

Protection of workers from biological agents: how to classify COVID-19

UN investigates systematic sexual violence across South Sudan

Voice tech and the question of trust

Korea must enhance detection and reinforce sanctions to boost foreign bribery enforcement

All States have ‘primary responsibility’ to protect against hate attacks

Achieving a European Education Area by 2025 and resetting education and training for the digital age

UN rights chief says ‘bar must be set very high’ for investigation of murdered Saudi journalist

We dream of being a part of the European family, says FYROM PM

Execution of juvenile offender in Iran ‘deeply distressing’ – UN rights chief

More than 90 per cent of Africa migrants would make perilous Europe journey again, despite the risks

Faith can overcome religious nationalism. Here’s how

Diversity training doesn’t change people’s behaviour. We need to find out what does

From violence to dialogue: as land conflicts intensify, UN boosts efforts to resolve disputes through mediation

Embracing technology as a service will fuel the circular economy. Here’s how.

Europe’s far-right launches attacks on neighboring nations

EU Parliament and Council: Close to agreement on the bank resolution mechanism

Technology as an inclusion method while facing the COVID-19 pandemic: the “Coronavirus-SUS” app

Plastic waste from Western countries is poisoning Indonesia

‘Unconscionable’ to kill aid workers, civilians: UN Emergency Coordinator

Facebook has built an AI-based tool that fixes the social network when it crashes

CO2 emissions around the world

Coronavirus: Using European supercomputing, EU-funded research project announces promising results for potential treatment*

4 ways to keep the momentum rolling on mental health

How COVID-19 could open the door for driverless deliveries

The future of manufacturing is smart, secure and stable

EU Parliament: A catastrophic crisis management by European leaders

South Korea wants to build three hydrogen-powered cities by 2022

Gaps being closed- medical students uplifting women’s right

Microsoft says the internet is getting a little nicer

This Japanese concept will help you see the world – and learn – in a different way

Stage set for successful 2020 Burundi elections, Foreign Minister tells General Assembly

How digital identity can improve lives in a post-COVID-19 world

Will the European Court of Justice change data privacy laws to tackle terrorism?

Palestinian children’s education deeply impacted by ‘interference’ around West Bank schools, UN warns

‘InvestEU’ programme: big boost for jobs, growth and investment

A day in the life of a refugee: We should be someone who helps

EU and Japan select first Erasmus Mundus Joint Master Programmes

Can climate change action lead to better inclusion?

4 steps towards wiping out cervical cancer

EU car manufacturers worry about an FTA with Japan

Here’s how retailers can encourage more sustainable behaviour

Good grub: why we might be eating insects soon

Here are 5 reasons why the ocean is so important

‘Terminator’ warlord Bosco Ntaganda sentenced to 30 years in prison for DR Congo atrocities

5 ways to reduce risk while fuelling IT innovation and growth

Public opinion misled by the Commission on air transport safety

British PM May’s Brexit proposal remains obscure while her government unravels

Most ‘precious’ and ‘scarce’ resource of our time is dialogue, UN chief tells Doha policy forum

Mining the deep seabed will harm biodiversity. We need to talk about it

3 steps to boost your digital safety while working from home

How to have a good Fourth Industrial Revolution

UN honours fallen colleagues and friends who ‘risk all to promote peace’

The winds of change: 5 charts on the future of offshore power

Whose interests are protected by the new Mortgage Directive?

GSMA Announces Latest Event Updates for 2018 “Mobile World Congress Americas, in Partnership with CTIA”

Is the ECB enforcing the will of the big Eurozone member states on the small? Can the euro area live with that?

Colombia: ‘Significant strides’ towards integrated peace, UN envoy tells Security Council

More Stings?

Speak your Mind Here

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s