WHO convenes emergency committee | Current world | DW

Given the rapid spread of much more contagious variants of the coronavirus, the World Health Organization (WHO) emergency committee is bringing its next meeting forward by two weeks. The panel will meet this Thursday to discuss the current development, the WHO announced in Geneva.

Two mutations of the virus have been discovered in Great Britain and South Africa in recent weeks, which are considered to be significantly more contagious than the previous forms of the pathogen. These mutations have now spread to at least around 50 countries around the world. In addition, Japan announced on Sunday the discovery of another mutation that is said to come from the Brazilian Amazon. This variant is currently being investigated.

WHO expert Mike Ryan sees a long way to go before coping with the pandemic, despite the first vaccines

The second year of the pandemic could be harder than the previous one, according to the WHO. The reason for this are some aspects of the virus spread, said WHO Deputy Director General Mike Ryan. The epidemiologist coordinates the fight against the pandemic for the WHO. This is particularly true in the northern hemisphere in view of the new, more contagious variants. Maria Van Kerkhove, also an epidemiologist at the WHO, also refers to the consequences of the holidays. “In some countries things will get a lot worse before they get better,” she says.

International research team arrived in Wuhan

The WHO mission to research the origins of the coronavirus can begin in China with a delay of days. The team of experts has arrived in the central Chinese metropolis of Wuhan, where the world‘s first corona infection site was identified at the end of 2019. Recordings from the Chinese state television broadcaster CGTN showed how the plane from Singapore landed with the experts in Wuhan. The examinations were originally planned to start last week. However, a lack of approval from the Chinese side delayed this. The WHO experts have to go into quarantine for two weeks because of the strict Chinese entry regulations.

Two scientists from the WHO team of experts have delayed entry to
China. Your 13 colleagues have already arrived in the central Chinese provincial capital Wuhan, the WHO announced on Twitter. However, further corona tests are necessary for the two experts who remained in the Singapore stopover. Both were tested positive for antibodies. All 15 experts had previously tested negative for the corona virus before leaving their home countries and in Singapore.

qu / rb (afp, rtr)


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