By Jel Santos

The team of the World Health Organization (WHO) for the joint mission with China to further study Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) is expected to arrive over the weekend, the WHO announced.

Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, director general of WHO, said the mission consists of 12 international and WHO experts and a similar number of national expert counterparts from China.

“I’m glad to say that the WHO-led Joint Mission with China on COVID-19 is moving forward. We expect the full team to touch down over the weekend,” he said during media briefing streamed live on Twitter on February 14.

The joint mission, according to Ghebreyesus, seeks “to rapidly inform the next steps in the COVID-19 response and preparedness activities in China and globally.”

Moreover, the WHO director general said it will include “in-depth workshops, a data review with the principal ministries, meetings with key national-level institutions, and field visits in three provinces to understand the application and impact of response activities at provincial and county levels.”

He said that they will also focus on understanding the transmission of the virus, the severity of disease, and the impact of ongoing response measures.

“It will be important to review which type of information is needed so that the world can use this window of opportunity to prepare health systems and workers for possible outbreaks,” he explained.

“Clearly this is an evolving picture. health workers and responders in China are working with virtually no sleep in difficult conditions. But we need to ensure that we’re getting the most accurate data, as quickly as possible, to assist & support the global response,” Ghebreyesus added.

WHO has recorded 1, 381 deaths in China because of the disease, including 121 reported on February 14. Meantime, outside China, there have been 505 cases in 24 countries and two deaths.