Beijing has now agreed to allow CDC experts to join the WHO team to investigate the coronavirus right at the epicenter of the outbreak in Wuhan after several times refusing the U.S.’s proposal, claimed Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar as reported by the Washington Times.
Azar confirmed that the U.S. team would accept the invitation with Fox News, saying, “We will accept the invitation to participate as part of the World Health Organization’s team of experts that will deploy to China to assist Chinese experts on the ground to actually get ground troops to study this virus, get all the information to both prevent the spread further in China but also global spread of this virus.”
The New York Times reported that Chinese leader Xi Jinping had a meeting with Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, director-general of the WHO on Jan. 28, to discuss strategies to combat the novel coronavirus 2019 (2019-nCoV) outbreak that has so far sickened over 17,000 and taken the lives of over 300 people worldwide, with the majority from China.
The two sides came to an agreement on the plan of sending an international expert team to work with the Chinese after that meeting.
Azar asserted that it is critical to study the origin and characteristics of the coronavirus to come up with a way to fight it, and that by now, very little about the novel virus has been revealed, “We’ve been very transparent about what we don’t know yet about this virus, which is we don’t know full information about its contagiousness, about its severity profile.”
White House economic adviser Larry Kudlow also confirmed, following the meeting of President’s Coronavirus Task Force that, Washington is ready to dispatch “our very best CDC experts” to China.
Talking to Fox Business, Kudlow said, “It’s the first time we’ve made that decision, [and] we’re happy to do it … .” He added, “We want to help out in any way we can. We have a lot of very smart people who know how to deal with these public health issues,” referring to the fact the CDC is largely considered as one of the most experienced in dealing with deadly coronaviruses, such as SARs and MERS.
The eighth case of coronavirus in the United States has been confirmed in a male University of Massachusetts—Boston student who recently returned from traveling in Wuhan, China, health officials said Saturday, Feb. 1.
Aza made the announcement on Friday, Jan. 31, about several travel restrictions to be put in place, to go into effect from 5 p.m. ET on Sunday, Feb. 2, including quarantining for up to 14 days anyone who has visited Hubei Province in China over the past two weeks and suspending travel arrangements of foreign nationals who have been in China during the past two weeks.