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WHO: Coronavirus a test for world to fight ‘common enemy’

A research and innovation gathering, bringing together international scientists among other authorities, kicked off in Geneva on Tuesday to streamline responses to the outbreak.

FILE: World Health Organisation Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus at a press conference. Picture: AFP

CAPE TOWN - The coronavirus outbreak is a test of political solidarity, according to the World Health Organisation (WHO).

WHO added the crisis was also an opportunity to test whether the world can come together to fight a common enemy that did not respect borders or ideologies.

Just over 1,000 people have died while more than 40,000 others are infected.

Apart from testing countries' healthcare systems, the WHO said the outbreak would also gauge what it called financial solidarity to see whether the world would invest more in keeping the virus at bay. If countries failed to do this, WHO warned they would have to pay more to deal with the consequences.

The dashboard is intended to provide the public with an understanding of the coronavirus outbreak situation as it unfolds, with transparent data sources. Picture: John Hopkins CSSE

A research and innovation gathering, bringing together international scientists among other authorities, kicked off in Geneva on Tuesday to streamline responses to the outbreak.

WHO Director-General Tedros Ghebreyesus said it was a grave global threat.

“WHO is working to keep laboratories with the capacity to rapidly diagnose cases. Without vital diagnostic capacity, countries are in the dark as to how far the virus has spread.”

The African Union's also doing its bit. Its Centre for Disease Control and Prevention will continue training healthcare workers across the continent to deal with the virus.