WHO calls for more ‘systematic, exhaustive investigation’ into Beijing cluster
The World Health Organization (WHO) suggested on Monday that more scientists from across the globe should join hands to further investigate the new disease clusters in Beijing and analyze what is driving the new infections in light of China’s latest COVID-19 outbreak.”The answers lie in careful, systematic, exhaustive investigation of disease clusters to really look at what is happening in these situations and what is causing the amplification of the disease in the human context,” Dr Mike Ryan, executive director of the WHO’s emergencies program, said during a press conference at the agency’s Geneva headquarters.He said now it is the time to investigate what’s driving the new infections. “If we get that, we will build up a much better picture of the public health advice we need to give to our communities on what behaviors to avoid, what places to avoid, and what circumstances to avoid.”China has reported more than 100 new confirmed COVID-19 cases since June 11, when the disease emerged at Xinfadi, the biggest wholesale market in Asia. With a size of 1.12 million square meters (roughly equivalent to 157 soccer fields or 251 American football fields), the Xinfadi market accounts for about 80 percent of Beijing’s entire farm produce supply.As of Sunday, the source of the new cluster remains unknown, although the head of the Xinfadi wholesale market has confirmed that coronavirus was detected on chopping boards used to handle imported salmon.As the coronavirus keeps spreading and killing with impunity, Dr Maria Van Kerkhove, head of WHO’s rising illnesses and zoonosis unit, also urged health officials to be on alert in case of the resurgence of new COVID-19 cases.”All countries need to be prepared to be that epicenter and to prevent the possibility of becoming the next place where cases can resurge,” she warned.At present, WHO officers are tracking the origin of recent clusters in Beijing and intently monitoring the outbreak. The organization’s country office in Beijing is working with epidemiologists and health experts to gather more information.The Chinese health authorities reported Tuesday that the total number of confirmed cases on the Chinese mainland stands at 83,221 and the cumulative death toll at 4,634, while 110 asymptomatic patients are under medical observation.


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