On 30 January 2020, the second meeting of the Emergency Committee was convened by the WHO Director-General under the International Health Regulations (IHR) (2005) regarding the outbreak of novel coronavirus 2019 at Geneva, Switzerland at 13:30 Geneva time (CEST), where the Director-General has declared the outbreak of novel coronavirus (2019-nCoV) a Public Health Emergency of International Concern (PHEIC). After the committee had diverse opinions on whether this outbreak constitutes PHEIC during the last meeting, the committee reconvened to provide advices to the Director-General. The following are the points being taken from the Statement of the meeting;
- The Committee appreciates the political commitment, commitment to transparency, efforts made to investigate and containment of the disease of the Chinese government. The government has used a multisectoral approach and collaborated closely with WHO and other countries in sharing essential information and genetic sequences.
- The Committee agreed that the outbreak has now constitutes a Public Health Emergency of International Concern (PHEIC); however, the following advice is to be issued as Temporary Recommendations. Thus, the Director-General declared that the outbreak of 2019-nCoV constitutes a PHEIC and accepted the Committee’s advice and issued this advice as Temporary Recommendations under the IHR.
- The Committee doesn’t recommend any travel or trade restriction.
- Countries are legally required to share information with WHO under the IHR, and any detection of 2019-nCoV in an animal should be reported to WHO.
- Countries must inform WHO about any travel measures taken, as required by IHR. Under article 43 of the IHR, States Parties implementing additional health measures that significantly interfere with international traffic (refusal of entry or departure of international travellers, baggage, cargo, containers, conveyances, goods, and the like, or their delay, for more than 24 hours) are obliged to send to WHO the public health rationale and justification within 48 hours of their implementation .
Full Statement on the second meeting of the International Health Regulations (2005) Emergency Committee regarding the outbreak of novel coronavirus (2019-nCoV) is available at: https://www.who.int/news-room/detail/30-01-2020-statement-on-the-second-meeting-of-the-international-health-regulations-(2005)-emergency-committee-regarding-the-outbreak-of-novel-coronavirus-(2019-ncov)
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