A new coronavirus detected in China motivates World Health Organization recommendation to hospitals worldwide.
At least 41 people are already infected, and there is a confirmed death in China.
Coronaviruses are a large family of viruses, and can cause infections ranging from the common flu to SARS (Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome).
Given the now known cases, WHO interim director Maria Van Kerkhove emphasizes that preventive measures are being taken on a global scale. "We are preparing for mass contagion, so infection prevention and control measures are being taken so that hospitals around the world apply and take the usual precaution."
Graça Freitas underlines that this is not yet a WHO alert and says that the risk is controlled.
Speaking to the Renaissance, the Director-General of Health explains that "before the WHO advances an alert has to put together an emergency committee, and did not even meet. And this means that the risk of the outbreak of pneumonia that occurred in that Chinese city is a controlled outbreak. The genome has already been sequenced and there is no indication to date that this Coronavirus is transmitted from person to person. "
Graça Freitas argues that there is no reason to startle: "No, because none of the health professionals who treated the patients got sick so far, and that would be an indication that the virus would spread from one person to another. The risk is, so very low right now ".
The Director General of Health explains that Portuguese hospitals have been prepared for many years for these emergencies. “They have been prepared for many years for these emergencies and given the possibility of importing such a case – which as I told you, there is nothing to indicate from one person to another – the indication that hospitals, health centers, or health professionals have to call the dedicated line that is called the Doctor Helpline. ”
“Therefore, in the face of a hypothetical, very rare, highly unlikely case that you can come from China with this respiratory symptoms, you should contact the helpline and that person will be isolated and followed accordingly, as we have done for Ebola, Marburg or for SARS ”, says Graça Freitas.
“This is the mechanism that exists and that we activate or not, depending on the severity of the situation or the risk. For now what is activated, as always, is the medical helpline. Right now we are just informing health professionals and we will make a statement to the population, but it is reassuring. As I tell you, WHO has not even convened its Emergency Committee, let alone issued any warning, ”says the Director-General of Health.