As 535,000 die, global experts to track COVID-19 source in China

By B N Kumar

MUMBAI, July 09, 2020: Responding to the global debate on the origins of COVID-19 pandemic, the World Health Organisation (WHO) is sending its experts to China this week-end for identifying the zoonotic source of the virus that has claimed 535,000 lives globally and wrecked several economies.

The investigation is significant in view of the accusations that China has created the virus as part of its biological war design and WHO stand that the source of the pandemic is not man made.

All preparations have been finalised and WHO experts will be traveling to China this weekend to prepare scientific plans with their Chinese counterparts for identifying the zoonotic source of the disease, said WHO Director general Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus.

Identifying the origin of emerging viral disease has proven complex in past epidemics in different countries. A well planned series of scientific researches will advance the understanding of animal reservoirs and the route of transmission to humans. The process is an evolving endeavor which may lead to further international scientific research and collaboration globally, WHO said later in a statement.

The experts will develop the scope and terms of reference for a WHO-led international mission whose objective is to advance the understanding of animal hosts for COVID-19 and ascertain how the disease jumped between animals and humans.

Dr Tedors, in his global media briefing, pointed out that It took 12 weeks for the world to reach 400 thousand cases of COVID-19. Over the weekend, there were more than 400 thousand cases across the globe, he said.

There have now been 11.4 million cases of COVID-19 and more than 535,000 lives have been lost.

The outbreak is accelerating and we have clearly not reached the peak of the pandemic. While the number of deaths appears to have levelled off globally, in reality some countries have made significant progress in reducing the number of deaths, while in other countries deaths are still on the rise, Dr Tedros said.

Meanwhile, WHO partnered with Facebook and Praekelt.org to provide COVID-19 information in Free Basics and Discover, in a mobile-friendly format. WHO aims to reach some of the most vulnerable people who will be able to access lifesaving health information without any data charges in more than 50 countries.

Dr Tedros thanked Google for its continued support and dedication to keep the global community safe and informed and for its recently increased ad grant to WHO. This support enables us to catch trending falsehoods early, respond to them quickly, and give people better access to lifesaving information when they need it most, wherever they are in the world, he added.