WHO has issued a statement: WHO statement on the Fifth Meeting of the IHR Emergency Committee concerning MERS-CoV. Excerpt:
The fifth meeting of the Emergency Committee convened by the Director-General under the International Health Regulations (2005) concerning Middle East respiratory syndrome coronavirus (MERS-CoV) was held by teleconference on Tuesday, 13 May 2014, from 12:07 to 17:12 Geneva time (CEST).
In addition to Members of the Emergency Committee, three expert advisors participated in the informational session only1. These advisors did not participate in the formulation of advice to the Director-General.
Thirteen affected States Parties reporting cases of MERS-CoV or evidence of infection since December 2013, were also on the first part of the teleconference: Egypt, Greece, Jordan, Kuwait, Lebanon, Malaysia, Oman, Philippines, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, United Arab Emirates, United States of America, and Yemen.
The WHO Secretariat provided an update on and assessment of epidemiological and scientific developments, including a description of the recent increase in cases in communities and in hospitals, transmission patterns, and the main observations of a WHO mission to Saudi Arabia, conducted 28 April – 5 May 2014.
Affected countries gave information about recent events in their countries, including measures taken and their concerns about the current situation.
The Members of the Committee discussed the information provided. Based on current information, the Committee indicated that the seriousness of the situation had increased in terms of public health impact, but that there is no evidence of sustained human-to-human transmission.
As a result of their deliberations, the Committee concluded that the conditions for a Public Health Emergency of International Concern (PHEIC) have not yet been met.
However, the Committee emphasized that its concern about the situation had significantly increased. Their concerns centred on the recent sharp rise in cases; systemic weaknesses in infection prevention and control, as well as gaps in critical information; and possible exportation of cases to especially vulnerable countries.
That last paragraph, in its quiet way, is a devastating indictment of the Gulf monarchies in general and Saudi Arabia in particular.