By Jel Santos
Over 1,700 health workers in China have been infected by the Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19), and six of them died, the World Health Organization (WHO) disclosed on Friday, citing the data of the China National Health Commission.
“The vice minister of the national health commission has said that as of Tuesday 1, 716 health workers have been infected, and six have died,” Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, director general of WHO, said in a media briefing streamed live on Twitter on February 14.
He said the information revealed by China National Health Commission Vice Minister Zeng Yixin is a “critical piece of information, because health workers are the glue that holds the health system & outbreak response together.”
“We need to know more about this figure, including the time period & circumstances in which the health workers became sick,” Ghebreyesus added.
According to him, WHO had established guidelines for health workers caring for hospitalized adults and paediatric patients with acute infections, saying such guidelines have been made available to all countries
On the other hand, the WHO director general said they have told suppliers of personal protective equipment to prioritize health workers who are on the front lines of the disease.
“We have been in regular contact with suppliers, asking them to prioritize production and distribution of personal protective equipment to health workers on the front lines. We are also in touch with Member States on this important issue,” he said.
Ghebreyesus said WHO has recorded a total of 1, 381 deaths in China, including 121 reported on February 14.
“Outside China, there have been 505 cases in 24 countries and two deaths,” he said.