WHO Dubs Coronavirus 'Public Enemy Number 1'

Death toll rises as virus continues global spread

Deutsche Welle – FEBRUARY 12, 2020

More than 1,000 people have so far lost their lives to the new coronavirus, according to the World Health Organization (WHO).

WHO chief Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus called on the world to act and warned that “a virus is more powerful in creating political, economic, and socialist upheaval than any terrorist attack.”

“If the world doesn’t want to wake up and consider this enemy virus as public enemy number one, I don’t think we will learn from our lessons,” he said. “It’s the number one enemy to the whole world, and to the whole of humanity.”


The number of fatalities from the virus reached 1,113 on Wednesday after China’s hardest-hit Hubei province reported 94 new deaths and three more were reported elsewhere in the mainland. In its daily update, the province’s health commission also confirmed another 2,105 new cases on Tuesday, the lowest since January 30.

Ghebreyesus, who previously served as the Ethiopian foreign minister, called on investing in prevention measures and helping countries with weaker health systems, He warned that “if this virus makes to (a country with) a weaker health system, it will wreak havoc.”

“For now it doesn’t seem so, but it doesn’t mean it will not happen. It may,” he said.

The virus has already paralyzed China’s economy as many large companies urged their employees to stay at home in order to curb the spread of the disease.

Meanwhile, an additional 39 cases have been reported on the Diamond Princess cruise ship, which was being quarantined for a second week off the coast of Japan.

The new reports bring the total number of cases on the ship, which has 3,700 passengers and crew on board, to 174. A quarantine officer was also found to be infected with the virus.


The WHO chief also announced a new official name for the disease, saying that the agency has dubbed it COVID-19.

The “CO” stands for “corona”, “VI” stands for “virus”, “D” for disease, and “19” for the year 2019, as the virus was first officially confirmed in December last year, according to Ghebreyesus.

The UN health agency intentionally avoided names that could be linked to a geographical region, an animal, or a group of people, he said.

‘We are not defenseless’

The WHO is currently hosting a conference of 400 medical experts who should prepare a “roadmap” for the outbreak response, including discussion on possible treatments.

“They will take time to develop, but in the meantime, we are not defenseless,” Ghebreyesus said, noting that a first vaccine “could be ready in 18 months.”


Ghebreyesus also recommended washing your hands, keeping at a distance from people who are coughing, and — if you are coughing yourself — covering your mouth with a tissue or your elbow.

There are now more than 44,200 confirmed cases across China, based on previously released figures from the government.

Separately, Chinese epidemiologist and senior medical advisor Zhong Nanshan told the Reuters news agency that the outbreak would likely peak before the end of February.

“I hope this outbreak or this event may be over in something like April,” said the 83-year-old Zhong, who was also involved in fighting the 2002-2003 SARS epidemic.

Chinese Researcher Removed from Infectious Disease Lab for Alleged “Administrative Matters”

By Jose Nino – 1/27/2020

According to a story published on CBC news on July 14, 2019, a researcher connected to China was escorted out of the National Microbiology Lab (NML) in Winnipeg during an RCMP investigation into what was described as a possible “policy breach.”

Dr. Xiangguo Qiu, her husband Keding Cheng, and an undisclosed number of her students from China were removed from Canada’s only level-4 lab on July 5, according to a CBC News report.

A Level 4 virology facility is a lab with the equipment to work with the most threatening human and animal diseases. This made the Arlington Street lab one of the very few labs in North America that is able to handle pathogens demanding the highest level of containment, such as Ebola.

According to sources who worked at the lab and did not want to be identified, the couple and the Chinese students had their security access revoked.

Sources claim that this came several months after NML IT specialists entered Qiu’s office after-hours and replaced her computer. Qiu’s frequent trips to China were also being denied.

During meetings on July 8, NML staff were informed that the researchers were on leave for an indefinite period of time. They were instructed not to communicate with them.

Qiu is a renowned virologist who helped out in developing ZMapp, an ebola virus treatment.

Qiu is a medical doctor hailing from Tianjin, China. She migrated Canada for graduate studies in 1996. She was still connected to the university there and has brought in many students over the years to help with her work.

She was leading the Vaccine Development and Antiviral Therapies section in the Special Pathogens Program at the lab. Qiu’s main research field is immunology and she mostly focused on vaccine development, post-exposure therapeutics, and quick diagnostics of viruses like Ebola.

On May 24, 2019, the RCMP received a referral from the Public Health Agency of Canada (PHAC).

“Based on information received to date, the RCMP has assessed that there is no threat to public safety at this time,” Robert Cyrenne informed CBC News in an email.

PHAC described it as a policy breach and “administrative matter” and said the department took steps to “resolve it expeditiously,” Eric Morrissette, the health agency’s chief of media relations, said.

“We can assure Canadians that there is absolutely no risk to the Canadian public and that the work of the NML continues in support of the health and safety of all Canadians,” communications director Mathieu Filion communication in an email.

No one from the Chinese Embassy commented on the situation

Many experts speculated that this could have been a case of intellectual property theft or technology leakage to China.

“The National Microbiology Laboratory would have some pretty sensitive biological research material that … could be shared either with or without authorization with foreign countries,” claimed Gordon Houlden, director of the University of Alberta’s China Institute.

“All of this is unproven, but even microbiology, sometimes especially microbiology, can have issues that involve national security.”

No matter the country, China uses its geopolitical leverage to advance its own interests.

Not just America, but the rest of the West should reconsider how it handles diplomatic and economic relations with China.

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