WHO Europe: no immediate threat of COVID-19 from China

WHO Europe: no immediate threat of COVID-19 from China

WHO Europe: no immediate threat of COVID-19 from China

COPENHAGEN, Denmark (AP) — The director of the World Health Organization’s European office said Tuesday that the agency sees no “imminent threat” to the European region from the COVID-19 outbreak in China, but more information is needed.

China is battling a nationwide coronavirus outbreak after a sudden easing of restrictions.

Hans Kluge said that based on the information the WHO has received from China, there is no threat, but more detailed and regular information from China is needed to monitor the evolving situation.

We cannot be complacent,” he added.

Several countries have imposed COVID-19 testing requirements on Chinese travelers. Australia and Canada require travelers from China to take a COVID-19 test before boarding a flight. Other countries, including the United States, India, Japan, South Korea and several European countries, have announced tougher COVID-19 measures for travelers from China amid concerns about the lack of infection data in China and fears that new variants could emerge .

China has threatened retaliation against countries that require travelers from China to show a negative COVID-19 test result in the last 48 hours. On Tuesday, it suspended the issuance of visas to South Koreans to come to the country for tourism or business in apparent retaliation for the Seoul move.

“We are aware that many countries, based on the precautionary principle, are implementing some measures,” said the director of WHO Europe.

“It is not unreasonable for countries to take precautions to protect their populations while we wait for more detailed information to be made available in publicly available databases,” he said. Any measure should be “rooted in science, … proportionate and non-discriminatory”.

Catherine Smallwood, Europe’s COVID-19 Incident Manager at the World Health Organization, added that “at no point should we be caught off-guard by focusing solely on one specific geographic area.”

Earlier this month, WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said the agency was “concerned about the threat to life in China” amid the rapid spread of the coronavirus across the country and the lack of outbreak data from the Chinese government. He said the agency recently met with Chinese officials to highlight the importance of sharing more details about COVID-19 issues, including hospitalization rates and genetic sequences, even as the pandemic continues to retreat globally since it began in late 2019 r.

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