The Director-General of the World Health Organization (WHO), Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, warned on Monday (03.02.2020) in Geneva about the spread of «rumors» around the new coronavirus. According to Tedros, WHO staff are working around the clock to locate misinformation circulating on the Internet.
Wrong recommendations on medicines or precautionary measures against the virus could be dangerous to health, Tedros said at the start of the WHO Executive Board meeting. It also said that WHO is working with Google to ensure that World Health Organization information is shown as the first result when searching for coronavirus. Social networks such as Twitter, Facebook, Tencent and Tiktok have also taken steps to contain false information.
The priority is to contain the coronavirus in China
On the other hand, Tedros stated that the priority now is to contain the coronavirus in China, its epicenter, so that the spread outside China is minimal, slow and controllable.
«If we invest in fighting at the epicenter, at the source, then the spread to other countries is minimal and also slow. If it is minimal and slow, what ever comes out can also be easily controlled,» Tedros stressed.
WHO stated on 30 January that the coronavirus outbreak that began in the Chinese city of Wuhan constitutes a health emergency of international scope, a measure that confirms the severity and risks of this situation.
Number of affected «actually is small»
However, in his opening address to the first annual meeting of the WHO Executive Committee, the organization’s director-general argued that the number of 151 confirmed cases of coronavirus in 23 countries is «actually small» and slowing down.
In his view, this indicates that they can be handled, although he immediately asked the 34 countries represented on the Executive Committee not to give their words the wrong meaning: «It can get worse, but if we give our best, the result may be even better.»
Tedros praised that China has taken drastic measures without doubt or delay in containing the outbreak, «without which the number of cases would be much higher.» And while he said cases can still multiply, «we have the opportunity to work aggressively to prevent this from happening.»