WHO team of int'l experts on way to China for novel coronavirus outbreak


(Photo: Xinhua)

GENEVA, Feb. 10 (Xinhua) -- World Health Organization (WHO) Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said late Sunday that the WHO-led team of international experts had left for China amid the novel coronavirus (2019-nCoV) outbreak.

Tedros said on Twitter that he had "just been at the airport seeing off members of an advance team for the WHO-led 2019-nCoV international expert mission to China, led by Dr. Bruce Aylward," who is a Canadian epidemiologist and emergencies expert and also a "veteran of past public health emergencies."

The WHO chief did not reveal any more details or the team's schedule.

Dr. Michael Ryan, executive director of the WHO Health Emergencies Program, said earlier that the WHO-coordinated team of global experts will cover clinical management, virology, vaccine, drug development, ecological investigation, animal health, epidemiology, public health and risk communication.

"The team's objective is to learn from Chinese counterparts' experience in dealing with this event so that the world can learn from them," he added.

Also on Sunday, Tedros expressed his gratitude towards health workers in China, especially in Hubei Province, who are fighting against the novel coronavirus.

"I am in awe of the thousands of health workers in China, especially in Hubei, who are caring for patients and gathering data on 2019-nCoV for scientific analysis, while under immense pressure," he said on Twitter.

"The world is grateful for your efforts to discover how to best treat and prevent the spread of the virus," he added.

Tedros underlined that experts in medicine and science are working across borders to lead a data-driven response to the novel coronavirus.

"From China's early sharing of genome sequencing data to our work at WHO to debunk myths, we are rapidly collecting, analyzing and sharing information to keep the world safe," he added.