Coronavirus was not made in the laboratory, WHO works to find its animal origin

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The International Health Regulations Emergency Committee unanimously recommended to maintain the global public health alert by COVID-19 this Friday, and asked the World Health Organization identify the zoonotic source of the virus and the route of introduction to the human population.

According to experts, WHO should work with the World Organization for Animal Health and the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations , to detect the animal or animals that would have transmitted SARS-CoV-2 for the first time in China.

“This should be accomplished through efforts like collaborative and scientific field missions, which will allow specific interventions and a research agenda to reduce the risk of similar events, ”reads the list of recommendations issued by the Committee.

The World Health Organization should also provide guidance on how to prevent SARS-CoV-2 infections in animals and humans and prevent the establishment of new zoonotic reservoirsas well as working to strengthen the global food supply chain, protect workers in the sector, properly manage markets and mitigate possible interruptions in food supply.

Experts asked countries promote sound practices to manage the risks of trade in live animals in food markets and regulate trade in exotic wildlife.

This virus is natural in origin.

In this regard, this Friday, the WHO emergency director, Dr. Mike Ryan ruled out that the virus has come out of a laboratory in Wuhan, China.

“We have listened to many scientists who have seen the sequence of the virus and have told us that this virus is natural in origin, what is important is establish which is the natural carrier“he said, ensuring that you need to understand which animal the coronavirus came from, in order to prevent it from happening again.

WHO Director Tedros Adhanom Gebreyesus said the Organization appreciates the confidence expressed by the international committee to continue leading the global response to the pandemic.



UN Mexico / Gabriela Ramirez

Scenes from everyday life in Mexico City during the COVID19 pandemic. In the image, a woman walks through a closed market.

Recommendations to countries in travel and trade

The Committee that declared coronavirus on January 30 as a Public Health Emergency of International Concern, the highest alert status of the World Health Organization when there were only 82 cases outside of China. It also issued some recommendations to the countries, three months from their last meeting.

Among them, States are requested to:

• Support the leadership of the World Health Organization to facilitate effective pandemic preparedness and response;

• Participate in solidarity efforts for universal access to essential supplies;

• Document and share all the lessons learned from efforts to control the pandemic.

On trade and travel restrictions, experts asked:

• Avoid obstacles to the international transport of food, medical supplies, and allow the movement of personnel necessary to respond to the pandemic;

• The implementation of appropriate travel restriction measures and in consideration of their public health benefits, including entry and exit reviews, traveler education, as well as detection, case tracking and quarantine, taking into account account the evidence of the potential role of presymptomatic contagion;

• Using digital tools for case finding, when appropriate;

• The constant revision of the restrictions and that they be changed according to the cost-benefit balance and the new information obtained on the development of the pandemic;

• That commercial restrictions beyond those necessary for public health are not implemented;

• That countries participate in global efforts to respond to the challenges of COVID-19 in the management of maritime ships.

Here you can read the full list of committee recommendations

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