Hyderabad: In a ray of hope for general public and health officials who are grappling with the outbreak of COVID-19 in China and other parts of the world, a team of doctors from World Health Organisation (WHO) and China who visited areas of the outbreak including the Wuhan province of China, said that the 2019-nCoV virus that causes COVID-19 can be contained.
In fact, WHO in a report has specially mentioned India along with other few countries who have managed to contain the spread of 2019-nCoV. “There are nine countries that have not reported a single COVID19 case for more than two weeks including India, Belgium, Cambodia, Finland, Nepal, Philippines, Russian Federation, Sri Lanka and Sweden. There are 14 countries that have had cases of COVID-19 and have not reported a single case for more than a week,” the WHO said.
Virus cases decline in China
The team from WHO-China has also reported a gradual reduction of 2019-nCoV cases in China and that the epidemic has already peaked and plateaued between January 23 and February 2 and has been declining since then. Based on the daily briefings of Director General, World Health Organisation (WHO), Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, on Wednesday only 10 new cases were reported in China outside of Hubei province.
Coronavirus not mutating
The WHO team has found that there have been no significant change in the genetic make-up of the virus and has estimated that the measures taken in China have averted a significant number of cases.
Spread to other countries a headache
The spread of COVID-19 to new countries has posed a fresh set of challenges for health officials in the State, who now have to possibly expand thermal screening to track all international passengers reaching Hyderabad from all corners of the world. For the first time since the onset of symptoms of first identified case of COVID-19 was reported on December 9, 2019, there have been more new cases reported from countries outside of China than China itself.
The development has added more pressure on public health officials in Telangana, who are faced with the possibility of expanding thermal screening to all international passengers at Shamshabad international airport and put travellers under home isolation for at least 28 days.
The sheer number of passengers arriving from various countries makes it a logistical nightmare to identify and later track the well-being of the international travellers.
“We are very much aware and keenly tracking developments occurring across the world with respect to COVID-19. Health Minister Etela Rajender and other senior health officials including Principal Secretary are reviewing the situation on a daily basis. Almost all the health machinery in Telangana is on alert,” says Dr Vijay Kumar, coronavirus nodal officer, TS.
At present, there are 2,790 cases of COVID-19 in 37 countries and 44 deaths across the world. So far, China has reported 78,190 cases to WHO, which also includes 2,718 deaths across China. The sudden spike in cases in Italy, Iran, Korea, Bahrain, Iran, Kuwait and Oman has become a major cause of concern for health officials here.