A World Health Organization official said on Friday that the group had no evidence to support China's White House economic advisor's claim about the coronavirus outbreak and urged countries to "avoid politicizing this problem now. ".
Michael Ryan, executive director of the WHO health emergency program, was responding to comments by Larry Kudlow, director of the National Economic Council, who said the US is disappointed by China's response to the virus.
"We are a little disappointed that we were not invited and a little disappointed that the Chinese lacked transparency," Kudlow told reporters on Thursday.
Ryan called the remarks "opinion" and noted that he expects US experts to be part of the WHO team in Wuhan, the epicenter of the virus. He added that there has long been "deep scientific collaboration" between the United States, international organizations and China, including an extensive publication by China in international medical journals on the virus.
"From our point of view, we have a government that is cooperating with us," said Ryan of China.
"If there is any clear indication as to why there may be some lack of transparency, we would be very happy to have this discussion," he said.
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Kudlow's statements also seemed to run counter to President Donald Trump, who praised Chinese leader Xi Jinping on Thursday for Beijing's response to the outbreak.
Kudlow said the unanswered questions about the virus were increasing and there was no sign of promised cooperation.
Ryan, in his response, suggested that Kudlow's remarks should arise in a "very tense political environment because of economic problems".
He asked the authorities to "avoid politicizing this issue now" and "that our scientists continue … let them work together and we fill in the answers".
Confirmed cases of the virus increased to 63,851 in mainland China, an increase of 5,090 over the previous day, according to the National Health Commission. The death toll was 1,380, up from 121.
However, the acceleration in cases may not indicate an increase in the disease because Hubei, the province most affected, has changed the way it counts cases.
Meanwhile, the World Health Organization continued to report lower numbers, maintaining the way cases were counted before Hubei's shift. WHO pushed for more details on Friday about changing the tabulation of cases. Now doctors in Hubei are making diagnoses based on symptoms, patient history and chest X-rays, rather than waiting for confirmation from the laboratory.
"We are seeking greater clarity on how clinical diagnoses are being made to ensure that other respiratory diseases, including influenza, are not confused with COVID-19 data," said WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus.
More than 580 cases have been confirmed outside mainland China. There were three deaths, in the Philippines, Hong Kong and Japan.
As the crisis spreads, Chinese leader Xi Jinping has removed two main communist party Hubei province officials for "incompetent control of the epidemic," according to the state news agency Xinhua. Six others received "serious notices".
The move reflects Xi's efforts to deal with the crisis that has disrupted normal public life and left millions essentially locked up in major cities.
There are no plans to cancel or move the Tokyo Olympics
Despite the coronavirus outbreak in neighboring China, there are no plans to change or cancel the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games scheduled open in just over five months.
John Coates, head of an International Olympic Committee inspection team and the organizers of the Tokyo Olympics, were bombarded with questions on Friday in Tokyo about the impact of the virus on games.
"Certainly, the advice we received externally from WHO is that there is no reason for contingency plans or cancellation or game changes," said Coates.
Asked if there would be “organizational changes” in the way the games take place, the chairman of the Tokyo organizing committee, Yoshiro Mori, “No, not at this stage, no. We are not thinking about such a possibility ".
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More than 1,700 Chinese medical workers infected with viruses
More than 1,700 Chinese medical workers were infected – and six died – from the new coronavirus that killed almost 1,400 people, a senior Chinese official said on Friday.
Six of the workers died, Zeng Yixin, deputy director of the National Health Commission, told a news conference.
He said the commission is "highly concerned with this issue" and has issued guidelines for the prevention and control of infections in medical institutions.
Medical workers account for about 3.8% of confirmed cases for several days, said Zeng.
WHO said on Friday that medical cases peaked in the third or fourth week of January and are falling rapidly in the past two weeks "This may reflect an increase in the level of protection, training and awareness," said Sylvie Briand, director of infectious infection. preparedness for WHO hazards.
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CDC confirms 15th case in the USA
A person under federal quarantine in Texas has been confirmed as the country's 15th coronavirus case, the CDC reported on Thursday. The patient arrived in the United States on February 7 on a flight chartered by the Wuhan State Department. Passengers remain in quarantine at the Joint Base San Antonio-Lackland. "The individual is currently isolated and receiving medical care" at a nearby hospital, the CDC said in a statement.
Contribution: John Bacon, USA TODAY; Associated Press