Collection
World
by @kofi
UN health agency tackles misinformation over virus outbreakGENEVA (AP) - The World Health Organization chief has traveled a dozen times to monitor the Ebola response in Congo . But when he planned to visit China's capital last week over a new viral outbreak emerging from central Hubei province, his daughter got worried. "Before I left for Beijing, my daughter was saying, 'Oh, you should not go,'" WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus confided to the U.N. health agency's executive board in a public session on Monday. The account exemplifies the fine line WHO officials are navigating between fear about the new coronavirus and hopes of increasing international preparedness over an outbreak that has taken more than 360 lives and infected at least 17,238 people in China since late December - and could become a pandemic. So far, growth has been exponential in China, but elsewhere cases remain under 150, scattered across nearly two dozen countries. "Instead of spending time on fear and panic, we should say this is the time to prepare," Tedros said. "Because 146 cases, by any standard, is very low." As governments clamp down on travel to China, airlines suspend flights and Chinese nationals fret about rising xenophobia and ostracism, WHO is calibrating a message of praise to Chinese officials and trying to focus on the epicenter - Wuhan city and surrounding Hubei province - to keep the virus from spiraling out of control. It also wants to help get weaker health systems ready. Before he left for the meeting with President Xi Jinping last week, Tedros reassured his daughter: "It's ok, it's not all over China." "Even in China, the virus is not evenly spread everywhere, and the risk is not the same," he recalled. "When I was in Beijing, what we had discussed with the authorities is that our concentrated effort should be in the epicenters, or...
1