Bruce Aylward, an epidemiologist who led an advance team from the World Health Organization (WHO), speaks at a press briefing at WHO headquarters in Geneva, Switzerland, Feb. 25, 2020. China has changed the course of COVID-19 outbreak, Bruce Aylward said on Tuesday, noting a rapidly escalating outbreak in China has plateaued and come down faster than previously expected. (Xinhua/Chen Junxia)
BEIJING, Feb. 26 (Xinhua) -- A press conference was held on Monday in Beijing after the 25-member WHO-China joint mission team conducted a nine-day field study trip in China's Beijing, Guangdong, Sichuan and Hubei.
Dr. Bruce Aylward, team lead of the special team on COVID-19, has made a speech and answered questions from international media.
Twenty-two recommendations in five big areas were delivered by the joint mission to the WHO. Details to be disclosed, the recommendations were made for infected or uninfected countries, as well as for the general public, according to Aylward.
We read through the press conference script, and summed up the following:
A boy prepares to wash his hands at a community in Changsha, central China's Hunan Province, Feb. 25, 2020. (Xinhua/Chen Zeguo)
China's measures taken to fight the virus:
-The national approach to hand-washing, the mask-wearing, the social distancing, the universal temperature monitoring;
-Conduct exhaustive case identification and close contact tracing, quarantine, and basic hygiene measures, including constant emphasis on the importance of frequent hand washing to the public;
-Different areas in China canceled public gathering activities, closed schools, suspended return to work and production, and then slowly progressed to more severe and powerful measures.
Staff members arrange traditional Chinese medicines bound for Wuhan of central China's Hubei Province at Zhongchuan International Airport in Lanzhou, northwest China's Gansu Province, Feb. 19, 2020. (Xinhua/Fan Peishen)
What should the international community learn from China's measures against the virus?
-Speed up response with modern and technical methods, as well as classic ways
-Develop each country's own approach in COVID-19 fight
-Tailor and refine strategies as situations move forward
-Prioritize medical personnel, resources
-Every individual's role
People wear masks as they walk in Milan, Italy, on Feb. 24, 2020. As of Tuesday, ten people have died and 322 have tested positive for the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) nationwide in Italy. (Photo by Daniele Mascolo/Xinhua)
"It's not to praise China, it's to open the door, and have the rest of the world realize there is something that can be done as people are starting to despair over what can we do," Aylward told the press on Monday.
WHO's recommendations on the outbreak response in the coming days and months for the international community:
-Speed is everything. As virus moves to other countries, rigorous approaches should be taken
-Raise awareness of the virus' aggressiveness
-Adapt and tailor fundamental strategies to different settings
-Use non-pharmaceutical and basic hygiene measures, such as constant emphasis on the importance of frequent hand washing to the public
-Prevent virus from getting into low-income countries with weaker capacity
-Prioritize enrollment into research and studies to reduce morbidity and mortality
A recovered patient (R) waves to medical staff of the temporary hospital, which applies traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) treatment to patients, in Wuhan, central China's Hubei Province, Feb. 26, 2020. TCM has been widely applied in treating infected patients as it has been proved effective in improving the cure rate. (Xinhua/Shen Bohan)
WHO's advice for China on next-step efforts:
-Complacency is the single biggest risk
-The virus is dangerous, cunning, tricky, may be around for months
-As people, businesses are getting back, everyone should be prepared for the new normal
-Prepare for possibility of virus coming back up
Staff of Iran's Ministry of Health and Medical Education arrange boxes of donated masks by China in Tehran, Iran, on Feb. 25, 2020. China's Ambassador to Tehran Chang Hua on Tuesday delivered 250,000 masks to Iran's Ministry of Health and Medical Education as a support to protect Iranians against the outbreak of novel coronavirus in the country. (Photo by Ahmad Halabisaz/Xinhua)
In a daily briefing held Wednesday in Geneva, WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus urged all countries to share disaggregated data and detailed line lists, so that WHO could provide appropriate public health guidance.
Tedros stressed that the current goal of every country in the world is to try to contain the virus. "We are in a fight that can be won if we do the right things."
According to him, "every country needs to be ready to detect cases early, to isolate patients, trace contacts, provide quality clinical care, prevent hospital outbreaks, and prevent community transmission."
Countries should prioritize protecting health workers, engage communities to protect most vulnerable people, and try to contain epidemics in countries with the capacity, according to Tedros.
"For the moment, we are not witnessing sustained and intensive community transmission of this virus, and we are not witnessing large-scale severe disease or death," he said.
Six special envoys were appointed by WHO on COVID-19 to provide strategic advice and high-level political advocacy and engagement in different parts of the world, while operational planning guidelines were also made by the organization to support country preparedness and response.■