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It’s an evolving situation: WHO gives thumbs up to Duterte’s response to nCoV

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The World Health Organization (WHO) thinks the government is doing a good job responding to the “evolving situation.”

WHO made the thumbs up comment amid criticism over the Philippine government’s efforts to prevent the spread of the novel coronavirus (2019-nCoV) across the country.

“We are satisfied so far with the measures being implemented by the government of the Philippines,” Dr. Rabindra Abeyasinghe, WHO Representatives in the Philippines, said in a briefing in Malacañang on Monday.

“WHO commends the actions taken by the Philippine Government to strengthen its preparedness, to build capacity to detect cases,” he added.

Abeyasinghe explained the Philippine government has been implementing the “most stringent measures” in relation to the relative risk and the pattern of movement of people going in and out of the country.

“I believe that the Philippine government has been responding to an evolving situation,” Abeyasinghe said.

“With the emergency of disease and the emergence of more information, the government response has been proactively strengthened,” he added.

On January 29, Health Secretary Francisco Duque III bared that the Philippines has its own capability to detect 2019-nCoV within 48 hours.

Duque said the Japanese counterpart of the Research Institute for Tropical Medicine (RITM) gave the RNA (ribonucleic acid) primer to be used for confirmatory testing of the virus.

The turnaround time will be cut by 50 percent since the acquisition of the primer would eliminate the need to consult Australian experts.

He assured that the Philippine government is working very closely with the WHO as new evidence emerges and after the nCoV outbreak was declared as a public health emergency of international concern.

“WHO is confident that at this point of time, there is no community spread of the disease as per evidence that is currently available within the Philippines,” Abeyasinghe said.

“We need to recognize that this is an evolving situation, it’s a new disease and WHO remains committed to working together with the global research community to generate that evidence and share it with Member States when available,” he added.

Following a report made by Thailand’s health ministry that a Chinese woman infected with the virus showed a dramatic improvement after being treated with a cocktail of anti-virals used to treat flu and HIV, Abeyasinghe pointed out that the improvement of one patient “does not constitute evidence.”

“WHO will work more closely with the authorities in Thailand, but also we are continuing to work with the authorities in China and with other research institutions to build evidence of what practices should be adopted by affected countries to improve case management, to prevent of the transmission and no sooner there is clear evidence of what works, WHO will share that,” he said.

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