Editor's Note: This transcript was automatically transcribed, so mistakes are inevitable. You can contribute by proofreading the transcript or highlighting the mistakes. Sign up to be amongst the first contributors.
All right. Thank you very much, everybody, for standing by until this moment to hear the outcome of the emergency committee on the twenty nineteen novel coronavirus meeting. I'm very glad to have here with me on the podium. Professor, did you sir, who's the chair of the emergency committee? Welcome, Dr. Tedros. Yes, as the director general, Mike Ryan, executive director for health emergencies at WJR. Dr. Marathon Kekovich, acting head for emerging diseases.
And so Gnosis. Welcome to all of you for those online. Please dial 0 1 on your keypad for questions. We will start with Director General Dr. Tedros to give a short announcement. Then we'll hand over to professor. Afterwards, we'll have time. At this point, for a very limited amount of questions, we'll take two from the room and two from the phones. I know there are many more questions, but please bear with us. This has been a very long day.
So for the panel here, please, we need to share those desk microphones to get everybody on the line, also to hear us. Thank you very much. And I hand over to Dr. tetras, not only a long day, by the way, Derek, I mean, Christian. It's the default. It's the default. It's also a long week since last Thursday. How many times have we met? So you must be tired of us. And so we will make it brief.
That's why. And I also for keeping you waiting. And good evening to everyone in the room and to everyone online. Over the past few weeks, we have witnessed the emergence of a previously unknown pathogen which has escalated into an unprecedented outbreak and which has been met by an unprecedented response. As I have said repeatedly since my return from Beijing, the Chinese government is to be congratulated for the extraordinary measures it has taken to contain the outbreak, despite the severe social and economic impact those measures are having on the Chinese people.
We would have seen many more cases outside China by now and probably dead as if it were not for the government's efforts and the progress they have made to protect their own people and the people of the world.
The speed with which China detected the outbreak, isolated the virus, sequenced the genome and shared it with W.H.O. in the world are very impressive and beyond words. So is China's commitment to transparency and to supporting other countries. In many ways, China is actually setting a new standard for outbreak response. And it's not an exaggeration. I also offer my profound respect and thanks to the thousands of brave helds professionals and all frontline responders who in the midst of the Spring Festival are working 24/7 to treat the sick, save lives and bring this outbreak under control thanks to their efforts.
The number of cases in the rest of the world so far has remained relatively small. There are new. There are now 98 cases in 18 countries outside China, including eight cases of human to human transmission in four countries Germany, Japan, Vietnam and the United States of America. So far, we have not seen any deaths outside China, for which we must all be grateful. Although these numbers are still relatively small compared to the numbers of cases in China, we must all act together now to limit further spread.
The vast majority of cases outside China have a travel history to hand. Or contact with someone with a travel history to walk home. We don't know what sort of damage this virus could do if it were to spread in a country with a weaker health system. We must act now to help countries prepare for that possibility. For all of this reasons, I'm declaring a public health emergency of international concern over the global outbreak of novel called innervate Coronavirus. The main reason for this declaration is not because of what is happening in China, but because of what is happening in other countries.
Our greatest concern is the potential for the virus to spread to countries with weaker health systems and which are ill prepared to deal with it. Let me be clear this declaration is not a vote of no confidence in China. On the contrary, W.H.O. continues to have confidence in China's capacity to control the outbreak. I'll repeat this. Let me be clear. This declaration is not a vote of no confidence in China. On the contrary, W.H.O. continues to have confidence in China's capacity to control the outbreak.
As you know, I was in China just a few days ago where I met with President Xi Jinping. I left in absolutely no doubt about China's commitment to transparency and to protecting the world's people, to the people of China and to all of those around the world who have been affected by this outbreak. We want you to know that the world stands with you. We're working diligently with national and international public health partners to bring this outbreak under control as fast as possible.
In total, there are now seven thousand eight hundred thirty four confirmed cases, including seven thousand seven hundred thirty six in China, representing almost 99 percent of all reported cases worldwide. 170 people have lost their lives to this outbreak. All of them in China. We must remember that these are people, not numbers. More important than the declaration of a public health emergency are the committee's recommendations for preventing the spread of the virus and ensuring a measure and evidence based response.
I would like to summarize those recommendations in seven key areas. First, there is no reason for measures that unnecessarily interfere with international travel and trade. So W.H.O. doesn't recommend limiting transfer or trade and and movement. We call on all countries to implement decisions that are evidence based and consistent. WTO stands ready to provide advice to any country that's considering which measures to take. Second, we must support countries with weaker health systems serve accelerate the development of vaccines, therapeutics and diagnostics.
Fourth, combat the spread of rumors and misinformation. Fifth, review preparedness plans. Identify gaps and evaluate the resources needed to identify, isolate and care for cases and prevent transmission. Sixth, shared data, knowledge and experience with. Join the World and seven. The only way we will defeat this outbreak is for all countries to work together in a spirit of solidarity and cooperation. We are all in this together and we can only stop it together. This is the time for facts, not fear.
This is the time for science, not rumors. This is the time for solidarity, not stigma. I thank you. Thank you very much. That the. Let's hear from the emergency. Committee professor. Thank you very much. So now was the time. Today, the emergency committee almost unanimously concluded that it was now time to suggest to the DG of W.H.O. that the novel coronavirus outbreak is a public health emergency of international concern, considering, first, the increase in the number of cases in China.
Second, the increase in the number of countries affected with cases, and also that some countries have taken questionable measures concerning travelers. Thanks to the Ayyad Cha, our main international health treaty declaring a public health emergency of international concern is likely to facilitate W.H.O. leadership leadership role for public health measures holding countries to account. Concerning additional measures they may take regarding travel, trade, quarantine or screening. Research efforts. Global coordination. Anticipation of economic impacts. Support to vulnerable states.
Declaration of a fake should certainly not be seen as a manifestation of distrust in the Chinese authorities and people which are doing tremendous efforts on the frontline of this outbreak. With transparency and let us hope with success. Novel coronavirus has placed its crown in several countries. Some are able to try to cope with new cases. For some others, it will be more difficult. And declaration of a public health emergency of international concern should open ways to facilitate this task.
The D.G. just declared the novel coronavirus event as a public of emergency of international concern for this purpose. The emergency committee has formulated advisers that could become temporary recommendation concerning W.H.O. China and affected or not affected countries. And this will be detailed in the statement about public health measures, travel research, international cooperation and coordination. Thank you.
Thank you very much, Professor. Also now, we're opening more here in the room for two questions. And then we will go on line. So then I'll take the first chair from the Chinese college.
Please introduce yourself as young as Shanghai News Agency. I got two questions for Director-General. First one, to your knowledge. What are the most extreme, extreme measures that some other countries may execute against a China after the release of the decision? And how will W.H.O. respond to it to these drastic measures? And secondly, as many countries are stepping up to work on the vaccine. So what kind of role can W H O play in coordinating international efforts to work and develop the vaccine?
And is there a specific timeline for the development of the vaccine? Thank you. Thank you. Ah, they said it earlier. We should have actually express our respect and gratitude to China for what it's doing. It has already done incredible things to limit the transmission of the virus to other countries and where respect is due. Then you don't punish, meaning if anyone is thinking about taking measures, it's going to be wrong. And W.H.O. doesn't recommend and actually opposes any restrictions for travel and trade or other measures against China on the vaccine, we have already started and we have him invited relevant partners and there is progress and we will inform you as soon as we have, you know, detailed information.
Thank you. And I'll take a second question from room. Associated Press, please. Up and down right now to the table just of it. Thank you. Cohering Hi, this is Jamie from Associated Press. Back to tetras. Thank you very much. Would you two quick questions? One is I'm not quite sure about the travel recommendations. It sounds like you and Dr. Phil are saying different things. The W.H.O. is not recommending a travel recommendation, but that countries themselves should be allowed to.
So how did how does that all fit together? Because, as you know, there are a lot of countries that are already reacting. And then a second question just has to do with your visit to Xi Jinping. I just want to make sure that we understand when the last time with a DG like you flew to a country to meet with the head of state during an evolving outbreak to request more debt, more detailed data and permission. Why was that necessary?
And if China was responding efficiently and transparently, if China was responding transparently and efficiency, why was that necessary?
Thank you. Thank you very much, Jamie.
Dr. Tedros and possibly also the Soul Summit. You want to first, for starters? Yeah, I would be happy to give the travel. We don't recommend travel or trade restrictions as WTO. And what I said and what Professor uwsa said that actually the same. But I would be glad if Professor also can comment on that. And on my trip to China, I have done it to other countries, too, before. So, you know, going to the field, visiting countries, you know, having firsthand information is very important.
And that's why I had to visit to see for myself what's happening. And I came back so impressed. I have never seen in my life this kind of mobilization. And maybe you're following the one hospital which is being built in 10D, big hospital. But that's not the only thing. You know, the measures they're taking, which I believe will reverse the tide. And going there and witnessing that is very important. Witnessing how the leadership is leading the response is very important.
And the other impressive part is. It's the president himself who is leading this effort. And when we arrived, the day we arrived, the prime minister was actually in in one and all the ministers are involved. Relevant ministers. This is impressive. And witnessing that kind of leadership and interacting with those leaders who are leading. An outbreak personally. Can get me a real experience for me, too. And actually a learning experience. And because of that, I actually recommend it to other countries globally to have that kind of political commitment and leadership at the highest level possible.
And when that happens, I know. Things have been on the ground, too. So I think visiting China was a very important one, which is not a new one, of course, I did it many times to other countries where there was outbreaks and so on. This one was suspicious because I was able to learn many things from what China is doing and I'm very confident by what they are doing. And I have seen the capacity and I believe that they will control this outbreak as soon as possible.
They have all the capacity that that needs, but not only what they are doing is protecting their people, but I know from the figures also, you know, that it's protecting the rest of the world. Outside China, we only have 98 cases and not as. If strong measures were not taken in China, this would not have happened. And. That's why I also said we have to appreciate what China is doing. And this declaration. Is not.
Actually, because China is not doing what it can. It's actually doing more than China is required to do. This is to protect especially countries with weaker health system and to prepare for that. And for your information, during my discussion with the president and other officials, they're willing to support. Countries with weaker health systems with whatever is possible. I think that is why I said in my speech earlier. In many ways, China is actually setting a new standard for outbreak response.
Thank you. Thank you very much. tetras and looking at professor will suffer for comments on travel and trade recommendations. What is a what does it mean, a travel restriction? It means, for example, visa refusal, border closure, a quarantine of travelers who are in good condition. These travel restrictions under the declaration of a public health emergency of international concern. They will this declaration will provide the W.H.O. the possibility to question such measures, which already have been taken by some by some countries.
Why did you take this decision? Why? What is the science supporting this decision? Could you reconsider this decision? And we suggested to W.H.O. that W.H.O. should inform the world about transparency concerning these measures, which should not constitute an example to follow, but a decision to to reconsider. Think Professor Hussar with this will turn towards our journalist colleagues on the line, by the way, we have more than 450 online right now. I'm looking at the radio of France for the first question and then we will go to Science Friday Confessions, the Radio France, please.
First of all, do not buy your fourth guest.
You'll get it a look. Also, it's depressing, but it's what is it that your music would Regini fast. Can we please by SNP votes? Would be no question. His evacuation is surely less how much the SNP is all on what it believes it. She knew what was going on until its fiscal policy. Now we see them as Yoki sort, and he says I think if only for mercy.
Beare But could you please repeat for the journalist in a Manala listeners this question in English. Thank you.
Of course, the question was about the evacuation and that was taken from certain countries, among them France. Do you consider that it is an unnecessary measure? And also the fact that some some some countries like France, like you have no direct flights now from our files from Paris to China. Do you consider those measures unnecessary to. Thank you. Redeem the evacuations from the citizens of some countries who are presently in the Hubei Province. They are measures that some countries are able to take because they have the capacity to do it.
Logistically speaking, they also are the proof of some confidence in the capacity they have then to to avoid contamination from these persons once they have return on the on their national in their national state. So this is why it is a measure that some countries are able to take. But clearly not all countries can do that. It's probably a situation which is a little bit exceptional. This this is the only thing I can say about that. Thank you very much.
I hope this answers your question with this with Turn to Science magazine. Chi co-efficient, please.
Thanks. This is probably Tetra. So I'm curious. I mean, we've seen that in the Ebola outbreak in West Africa as well in that country, you know, take this unilateral decision to close borders or refugees and things like that. Other than questioning them, you know, above the evidence based this, are you doing anything in the background to actually change this or specifically also, you know, British Airways, Air France flight? Is there anything that you can actually do at W.H.O.
to change this? Dr. Tedros Pleasant. I think we we will do everything so people can do the right things with the flights. We may not be able to convince them because some of the. Airlines actually say that they're not flying. It's not because of the virus, because they don't have enough passengers. And that could be a reason. And there will be very difficult if that's the case. Otherwise, we engage and through this declaration, by the way, through the recommendations, we accept that they will.
We expect that they will follow that. But at the same time, we will continue to engage. Thank you. Thank you, French gentlemen and ladies on the panel. With this, we reached the end of our press briefing, everybody. Thank you very much. So all the many listeners online and to the large crowd here in the room, I thank the panel. Thank you all very much for everybody. We will be sending the audio files very shortly after this, together with the statement and the intervention by Dr.
Tedros and sometime later, maybe also video clips. And for the transcript, you will most likely only send in the course of tomorrow. Thank you all very much. Have a good evening.