After refusing to declare coronavirus a global risk a week ago, the World Health Organization (WHO) has shifted its views. During a recent press event, WHO representatives have stated that the coronavirus has been classified as a Public Health Emergency of International Concern.
The decision was taken to support China as several strategies have been implemented to prevent the spread of the disease among the population. However, a coordinated global effort is needed as pre-emptive measures will have to be established in other regions of the world that are vulnerable.
This is the sixth PHEIC that has been declared by the WHO, with a similar decision being taken during the H1Z1 influenza pandemic, the Zika virus incident, two Ebola, and a polio outbreak.
World Health Organization Classifies Coronavirus as a Public Health Emergency of International Concern
Critical voices have already declared that the decision should have been implemented earlier, but it remains a significant alarm signal for many governments. Health ministries and departments from across the world will be more motivated to implement comprehensive measures that should diminish the risk of a future pandemic, as many citizens fear that coronavirus will become as widespread as the N1H1 influenza pandemic that took place in 2009.
About 200 countries have recognized the International Health Regulations, a legal document that encourages those who signed it to share information with WHO and follow guidelines offered by the organization. It is worth pointing out that the even PHEIC recommendations cannot be enforced from a legal point of view, and there are no sanctions for countries that refuse to follow the IHR.
In other news, researchers from the Hong Kong Polytechnic University have managed to develop a new version of reusable facemasks that can be used for up to 70 times. They are based on new antibacterial materials that could be used to enhance several textile products.