Geneva: The World Health Organization (WHO) has welcomed the news that there were no more hospitalized COVID-19 patients in Wuhan, the Chinese city where the novel coronavirus originated last December, praising its people's "tireless efforts" to combat the pandemic.
According to city authorities, Wuhan, the capital of Hubei province, was cleared of all COVID-19 cases in hospitals by April 26, reports Xinhua news agency.
"That's very very welcome news to hear that there are no more severe cases, no more patients in Wuhan," said Maria van Kerkhove, technical lead for the WHO's Health Emergencies Program at a virtual press briefing here on Friday.
"So congratulations on this achievement," she said.
Van Kerkhove appreciated the "tireless efforts" of the people in Wuhan -- "not just the healthcare workers but the individuals who stayed in their homes, who adhered to the public health measures". She, however, asked the people in Wuhan to "remain vigilant", should new cases appear.
Meanwhile, Hubei province has not reported any new COVID-19 case for the 28th consecutive day since April 4. Hubei was cleared of confirmed COVID-19 cases on April 26. As of Saturday morning, China has reported 83,959 coronavirus cases, with 4,637 deaths.
WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said on Friday that the COVID-19 outbreak still constitutes a Public Health Emergency of International Concern (PHEIC).
"Of course, the COVID-19 pandemic remains a Public Health Emergency of International Concern," he said at a virtual press conference from Geneva, Xinhua news agency reported.
Tedros declared a PHEIC, WHO's highest level of alarm, over the novel coronavirus outbreak on Jan. 30, when there were 82 cases outside China. Later the disease caused by the virus was named COVID-19.
Under the International Health Regulations, the WHO director-general has the authority to determine that an outbreak constitutes a PHEIC when certain conditions are met, and the decision should be reviewed every three months.
"WHO will continue supporting all countries with technical and logistical support, especially those that need it most," Tedros said at the press conference.
"As we have done clearly from the beginning, we will continue to call on countries to implement a comprehensive package of measures to find, isolate, test and treat every case, and trace every contact," he added.
The WHO chief also said that in accordance with the International Health Regulations, he will reconvene the COVID-19 emergency committee again in 90 days, or sooner if needed.