Coronavirus: WHO should update its website regularly

Coronavirus China 1-Optimized

In a fast developing scenario such as the novel coronavirus outbreak, is it unfair to expect the WHO to keep its Disease Outbreak News page on its website updated, the weekend break notwithstanding? Also, is it asking for too much for the WHO official Twitter handle to retweet what its respective regional WHO Twitter handles tweet?

The World Health Organization is keeping the public regularly updated with the latest news on the novel coronavirus through tweets. However, the Disease Outbreak News page of the global agency website has been last updated on Friday January 17, 2020.  The number of cases reported in its last update is 41. The same hold true with the Coronavirus page of the WHO website.

The silence becomes all the more pronounced as the number of coronavirus cases has seen a spike during the weekend.

Neither the news about the spike, nor the spread of the virus to South Korea and two other cities in China can be found on the WHO website.

On January 18, the Wuhan Health Commission confirmed four more cases taking the total to 45. And on January 19, the Wuhan authorities reported 17 new cases. On Monday January 20, the Wuhan authorities announced that 59 new cases were confirmed on January 18 and 77 cases on January 19, taking the total to 198.

Besides the spike, a fresh case of spread outside China was confirmed in South Korea. In a tweet, the WHO said the woman travelling from China’s city Wuhan, which is the hotspot of the outbreak, was found infected with the virus at the Incheon International Airport in South Korea.

For the first time, coronavirus cases were reported from other cities — two from Beijing and one from Shenzhen.

Neither the news about the spike, nor the spread of the virus to South Korea and two other cities in China can be found on the WHO website.

In a fast developing scenario such as this, is it unfair to expect the WHO to keep its Disease Outbreak News site updated, the weekend break notwithstanding? Also, is it asking for too much for the WHO official Twitter handle to retweet what its respective regional WHO Twitter handles tweet?

For instance, the WHO Western Pacific Region (@WHOWPRO) had tweeted that South Korea has confirmed coronavirus infection in a woman who had travelled from Wuhan. The woman had not visited any market in Wuhan or come in contact with animals or any infected cases, once again confirming human-to-human transmission of the virus. The WHO handle is silent on this issue. South Korea is the third country after Thailand and Japan to report a case of coronavirus infection in a passenger travelling from Wuhan.

Also, while the WHO Western Pacific Region had tweeted that the total number of cases reported so far is 205, the WHO handle only mentions the 139 new cases (taking the total to 198).