The World Health Organization is seeking more information from China about the large number of health workers who fell ill with the coronavirus after it was revealed that 1,760 of them tested positive and six died.
This is the first time that China has included specific numbers for healthcare professionals in the data it has provided on the spread of the epidemic. “This is critical information because health workers are the glue that holds the health system together and the response to the outbreak,” said WHO Director-General Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus.
“We need to know more about these figures, including the length of time and the circumstances under which healthcare workers fell ill.”
On the same day, Egypt reported a case, becoming the first country in Africa to do so. The country’s ministry of health said the person affected was a foreigner who had been placed in solitary confinement in the hospital, adding that WHO had been informed immediately and that all necessary preventive measures had been taken. He did not provide the nationality of the person concerned or other details.
Earlier this month, WHO said it was particularly concerned about high-risk nations with weaker health systems that may not have the facilities to identify cases.
According to the New York Times, doctors and nurses in China must take impromptu measures to try to protect themselves from the serious shortage of protective clothing, gloves and masks. Eyewitnesses said health workers repaired damaged protective masks with tape and reused glasses to put them on once and throw them away. They are wrapping their shoes in plastic bags because they don’t have protective covers for them.
Some used their money to buy protective gear if they could find it for sale or ask their friends. Others said they would avoid eating and drinking for long periods of time because going to the toilet meant removing and disposing of safety clothes that they could not replace.
Tedros said that WHO released its guidelines to protect healthcare workers in China and other countries with Covid-19 cases, but the critical problem in Chinese hospitals affected by the coronavirus appears to be to obtain protective equipment.
On Friday, Doctors Without Borders / Doctors Without Borders (MSF) said they will send 3.5 tons of medical protective equipment to Wuhan Jinyintan hospital, one of the leading hospitals in the treatment of patients with viruses.
The blockade in the cities of China aims to stop the virus from traveling, but has prevented the production and delivery of essential supplies of personal protective equipment (PPE) and masks and gloves, while donations have not always gone where they need them more.
WHO is already seeking further information from the Chinese government on the change in the way doctors now diagnose Covid-19, which led to a large increase in diagnostic numbers on Thursday. Another 15,000 cases were reported by the outbreak center in Hubei province who had been diagnosed with a lung CT scan and not a laboratory test.
On Saturday, the National Health Commission announced that the total number of cases in China was 66,492. Virus deaths amounted to 1,523. Total cases included laboratory-confirmed Covid-19 and clinically diagnosed cases by doctors. Tedros said he needed to know that doctors did not mistakenly diagnose other infections such as coronaviruses.
“Although it is not uncommon for epidemics to change clinical definitions over time as more information becomes available, we are seeking more clarification on how clinical diagnosis is made, to ensure that other respiratory diseases, including influenza, do not are known. mix with Covid data -19, “he said.
U.S. experts will be part of an international team that will arrive in China over the weekend to hold talks with their counterparts, WHO said. The confirmation followed the calls of a senior White House official to make Beijing more transparent about the management of the epidemic and its change in the reported data, as the Chinese authorities have expanded the “war” measures to limit its spread.
“We are a little disappointed with the lack of transparency of the Chinese,” said Larry Kudlow, director of the United States National Economic Council.
The deputy director of the Chinese national health commission, Zeng Yixina, confirmed that over 1,700 Chinese health workers had been infected and six died, adding that the commission was “very concerned about this problem” and had published guidelines for infection prevention and control. . within medical institutions.
Healthcare professionals accounted for about 3.8% of confirmed cases up to three days ago, Zeng said.
The death toll is 1,383. Three deaths occurred outside mainland China: in Hong Kong, Japan and the Philippines.
Singapore confirmed nine new cases on Friday, totaling 67, while in Japan the ministry of health said 11 senior passengers on the quarantine cruise ship Diamond Princess were able to leave the ship after being negative.
While public health experts have welcomed the change in reporting positively, others argue that it raises more questions about the data. The modification of the diagnostic criteria was applied only to the province of Hubei.
“Is the politburo really honest with us?” Kudlow asked referring to the main command body of Communist China. Kudlow said that President Xi Jinping had assured Donald Trump that Beijing would accept US help, but “they will not leave us.”