Are China and the WHO Getting the Response to the Wuhan Coronavirus Right?

Are China and the WHO Getting the Response to the Wuhan Coronavirus Right?
A paramilitary policeman wears a face mask as he stands guard near the large portrait of Chinese leader Mao Zedong at Tiananmen Gate in Beijing, Jan. 27, 2020 (AP photo by Mark Schiefelbein).

The Wuhan coronavirus continues to spread rapidly in China, where more than 6,000 cases have now been confirmed and more than 100 people have died from the disease. Dozens of cases have also been reported in other parts of the world, including other Asian countries as well as Europe and North America.

Chinese authorities have moved swiftly to contain the outbreak, placing travel restrictions on more than 48 million people in over a dozen cities, including the central metropolis of Wuhan. The director-general of the World Health Organization says he is confident that China is taking appropriate response measures, and has held off on officially declaring the virus a public health emergency of international concern.

Will this be sufficient to contain the outbreak? And what more can be done to prevent similar epidemics in the future? For this week’s interview on Trend Lines, Elliot Waldman discusses these questions with Jeremy Youde, dean of the College of Liberal Arts at the University of Minnesota Duluth and a specialist in global health governance.

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Trend Lines is produced and edited by Peter Dörrie, a freelance journalist and analyst focusing on security and resource politics in Africa. You can follow him on Twitter at @peterdoerrie.

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