The World Health Organization is urging countries to act quickly and aggressively test to fight the novel coronavirus.
Dr. Mike Ryan, executive director of health emergencies programme at the World Health Organization, recounted his past experience with Ebola outbreaks, with this advice:
"Be fast, have no regrets. You must be the first mover. The virus will always get you if you don’t move quickly.”
Ryan said being prepared is paramount to keeping the virus at bay, adding, “If you need to be right before you move, you will never win.”
“Speed trumps perfection. And the problem we have with society at the moment is everyone is afraid of making a mistake. Everyone is afraid of the consequence of error. But the greatest error is not to move. The greatest error is to be paralyzed by the fear of error,” Ryan warned.
Dr. Maria Van Kerkhove, a WHO infectious disease epidemiologist, said if there are countries that are actively looking and doing aggressive contact finding and starting to report high numbers of cases, “they shouldn’t be punished from that."
"It’s really important that we support countries in doing the right measures and sometimes that’s going to mean that case numbers are going to increase," she said.
“In many countries, it’s going to get worse before it gets better,” Van Kerkhove added. “Please look for cases, please do testing and find those cases so we can turn the tide.”