WION Edit: World grapples with extent of coronavirus outbreak

Delhi Feb 27, 2020, 01.04 PM(IST) Written By: WION

File photo. Photograph:( Reuters )

Story highlights

Doctors in countries like Iran, Iraq, Syria and Yemen would be helpless if they were made to face a Hubei-like coronavirus outbreak.

The Wuhan coronavirus is now on a global march, the number of fresh cases might have dropped in China, but the disease shows no signs of slowing down.

According to researchers at the Imperial College in London, around two-thirds of the cases exported from China are yet to be detected.

As the world grapples with the extent of this outbreak, America has levied an accusation. US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo has claimed that China and Iran are censoring information.

He claims China and Iran have suppressed the actual facts about the outbreak, but, the real problem at hand is different - the disease has skipped borders and effectively escaped from China.

When the first wave of cases was reported, several countries responded by placing travel bans and restricting travel from China. These measures would be ineffective now.

Consider what is happening in Europe, the infection is spreading to European Union Nations from Italy. Similarly, the coronavirus is travelling from Iran to other West Asian nations.

While Europe may be equipped to handle a major outbreak, the same cannot be said for West Asia. Years of unrest in that region have broken the back of the health care system.

Doctors in countries like Iran, Iraq, Syria and Yemen would be helpless if they were made to face a Hubei-like coronavirus outbreak.

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America's claim that Iran could be concealing the real numbers is not outrageous. Beyond the weak health system - America's maximum pressure policy towards Iran is a contributing factor here. The tough sanctions have cut off Tehran from a large part of the globe.

The world must pay attention to the new hotspots of the coronavirus outbreaks. The need of the hour is a global response, coordinated by world powers and UN agencies like the World Health organisation (WHO).

Resources, supplies and scientific know-how must be brought together and dispatched to the worst affected areas. The WHO might not be calling the coronavirus outbreak a pandemic for now, but the world could be staring at one if we ignore this new wave of cases.

(Disclaimer: WION Edit is the channel's take on the big events of the world)