Summary of the ECDC rapid risk assessment from 31 January 2020
Yesterday, on 30 January 2020, the World Health Organization (WHO) declared the emergence of the novel coronavirus (2019-nCoV) a public health emergency of international concern (PHEIC). This decision by WHO Director-General (DG) Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, was made following the recommendations of the Emergency Committee in its second meeting convened under the International Health Regulations (IHR) (2005). In his decision, the WHO DG stressed ‘the potential for the virus to spread to countries with weaker health systems, and which are ill-prepared to deal with it’ as one major concern and the importance of ‘preventing the spread of the virus and ensuring a measured and evidence-based response’.
This sixth PHEIC under the IHR follows those declared in 2009 for the H1N1 influenza pandemic, in 2014 for the international spread of poliovirus and the Ebola outbreak in West Africa, in 2016 for the 2015/16 Zika virus epidemic and in July 2019 for the Kivu Ebola epidemic.
Following the declaration of the PHEIC, we would like to remind the readers of Eurosurveillance about our dedicated ‘2019 novel coronavirus collection’ that we update regularly with new articles. It already contains several articles about, for example, the development of a diagnostic methodology based on RT-PCR without the need for virus material, the severity among hospitalised cases, early-stage estimates of the importation risk to Europe, and estimated patterns of early human-to-human transmission.
The European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC) provides regularly updated information relevant to Europe through on a dedicated webpage. Besides general information including Q&As, daily case counts, and maps with disease distribution, examples of latest updates comprise: Algorithm for management of contacts of probable or confirmed 2019-nCoV cases, Advice to healthcare workers: management of patients with 2019-nCoV infection and Public health management of persons having had contact with novel coronavirus cases in the European Union. The ECDC also publishes regular risk assessments, the Box contains the summary from the one published today.