After the announcement of new containment measures in Wuhan on 22 January, the Director-General asked the Emergency Committee to reconvene on 23 January to study the information provided by Chinese authorities about the most recent epidemiological evolution and the risk-management measures taken.
Chinese authorities presented new epidemiological information that revealed an increase in the number of cases, of suspected cases, of affected provinces, and the proportion of deaths in currently reported cases of 4% (17 of 557). They reported fourth-generation cases in Wuhan and second-generation cases outside Wuhan, as well as some clusters outside Hubei province. They explained that strong containment measures (closure of public-transportation systems in Wuhan City, as well as other nearby cities). After this presentation, the EC was informed about the evolution in Japan, Republic of Korea, and Thailand, and that one new possible case had been identified in Singapore.
The Committee welcomed the efforts made by China to investigate and contain the current outbreak.
The following elements were considered as critical:
Human-to-human transmission is occurring and a preliminary R0 estimate of 1.4-2.5 was presented. Amplification has occurred in one health care facility. Of confirmed cases, 25% are reported to be severe. The source is still unknown (most likely an animal reservoir) and the extent of human-to-human transmission is still not clear.
Several members considered that it is still too early to declare a PHEIC, given its restrictive and binary nature. The Committee stands ready to be reconvened in approximately ten days’ time, or earlier should the Director-General deem it necessary.