#COVID-19: Meeting Of Top Scientists Underway To Slow Spread
Deaths from the coronavirus epidemic have surpassed 1,000, the World Health Organization (WHO) confirmed on Tuesday, as hundreds of health experts began meeting at its headquarters in Geneva to help halt the spread of the disease, now officially known as COVID-19.
“As of 6am Geneva time this morning, there were 42,708 confirmed cases reported in China and tragically we now have surpassed 1,000 deaths”, said Fadela Chaib, WHO spokesperson.
“To be precise, it’s 1, 017 people in China who have lost their lives to this outbreak. Outside China, we have 393 cases in 24 countries with one death; the one death is in the Philippines.”
As infections continue rising, since the novel coronavirus outbreak was declared in central China on 31 December, Ms. Chaib noted that this was likely owing to a “combination” of improved screening and detection measures.
“You are seeing more cases because we are detecting more cases and also because it’s a backlog of cases that are now being tested in labs,” she explained.”
Experts brainstorm next steps
The development comes as some 300 scientists, public health agencies, ministries of health and research funders convened for a two-day meeting at WHO to share the latest information about the virus and decide how best to confront it.
Currently, there is no vaccine to protect against it and no proven therapeutics to treat those infected, WHO Director-General Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus told those gathered at WHO headquarters for the Research and Innovation Forum on novel coronavirus 2019.
Appealing to participants for their scientific insight, Tedros also called for answers to many unknowns relating to the epidemic.