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WHO-China Joint Mission on COVID-19 released fact-finding report with wide-ranging recommendations

From left

  1. Bruce AYLWARD, Team Lead, WHO-China Joint Mission on COVID-19, Senior Advisor to the Director-General, WHO
  2. Gabriel LEUNG,, Dean of Medicine, Helen and Francis Zimmern Professor in Population Health, HKU
  3. YUEN Kwok-Yung, Chair Professor and Co-Director of State Key Laboratory of Emerging Infectious Diseases, Department of Microbiology, HKU
  4. LIANG Wannian, Team Lead , WHO-China Joint Mission on COVID-19, Head of Expert Panel, National Health Commission, China

A team of 25 health experts from around the world, including HKU professors Gabriel M Leung and Yuen Kwok-yung, released a 40-page report 28 February on their fact-finding trip to Wuhan, the epicenter of the COVID-19 outbreak.

Team lead Bruce Aylward, public health expert with WHO said Tuesday that the “big conclusion for the world is, it’s simply not ready.” The group visited China from 16-24 February.

Some of the major recommendations:

For China:
1. Maintain an appropriate level of emergency management protocols, depending on the assessed risk in each area and recognizing the real risk of new cases and clusters of COVID-19
2. Carefully monitor the phased lifting of the current restrictions on movement and public gatherings, beginning with the return of workers and migrant labor, followed by the eventual reopening of schools and lifting other measures;

For countries with imported cases and/or outbreaks:
1. Immediately activate the highest level of national Response Management
2. Prioritize active, exhaustive case finding and immediate testing and isolation, painstaking contact tracing and rigorous quarantine of close contacts
3. Fully educate the general public on the seriousness of COVID-19 and their role in preventing its spread

For uninfected countries:
1. Prepare to immediately activate the highest level of emergency response mechanisms to trigger the all-of-government and all-of society approach
2. Rapidly test national preparedness plans (rapid detection, large scale case isolation, contact tracing and mangement) in light of new knowledge on the effectiveness of non-pharmaceutical measures against COVID-19
3. Immediately enhance surveillance for COVID-19 as rapid detection is crucial to containing spread

For the full report, see

For the Chinese version, see

Read: [BMJ Opinion] We need new forms of governance to better manage our response to pandemics

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