Experts ramp up coronavirus surveillance
Bermuda health experts are in close contact with an international body about the deadly coronavirus, the Government confirmed yesterday.
A spokeswoman for the Ministry of Health said: “The Epidemiology and Surveillance Unit is in constant liaison with World Health Organisation authorities and aware of the Public Health Emergency of International Concern status.”
She added: “Travel advice revisions are being considered accordingly and will be communicated shortly.”
The spokeswoman was speaking after the WHO declared the coronavirus a global health emergency.
Tedros Ghebreyesus, the director-general at the WHO, said that the main reason for the declaration was not because of what was taking place in China “but because of what is happening in other countries”.
He said: “Our greatest concern is the potential for the virus to spread to countries with weaker health systems and which are ill-prepared to deal with it.”
Dr Tedros said that the decision to declare the virus a global health emergency was not a “vote of no confidence in China”.
He added: “On the contrary, the WHO continues to have the confidence in China’s capacity to control the outbreak.”
Dr Tedros said that, as of yesterday, there were 98 cases in 18 countries outside of China, including eight cases of human-to-human transmission in four countries — Germany, Japan, Vietnam and the United States.
Dr Tedros added: “So far, we have not seen any deaths outside of China.”
Dr Tedros said that countries must band together to limit the further spread of the virus.
He added: “We don’t know what kind of damage the virus could do if it were to spread in a country with a weaker health system.
“We must act now to help countries prepare for that possibility.”
The health ministry announced this week that air arrivals to Bermuda would be screened.
It said the screening would include questions on areas people had travelled through in the previous 21 days and if they had suffered any suspicious symptoms.
The ministry said at the time the island had no known or suspected cases of coronavirus.
At least 213 people have died from the virus in China as of last night.
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