İYİ Party's motion for inquiry into coronavirus outbreak rejected

İYİ (Good) Party's motion calling for the establishment of a parliamentary research commission on the spread of the deadly new coronavirus, has been rejected. Just hours later, the World Health Organization (WHO) declared that the coronavirus epidemic now constitutes a public health emergency of international concern.

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A motion submitted by İYİ (Good) Party to set up a parliamentary research commission to determine what kind of protective measures Turkey can take against coronavirus outbreak, has been rejected, daily Evrensel reported on Jan. 30.

İYİ Party group deputy chair Lütfü Türkkan addressed the deputies in the parliament on Jan. 30, saying: “Despite all the measures taken, the virus has spread to 14 countries other than China. With globalization, in a period where transportation technologies and density have so much increased, every country has a risk of being affected by a respiratory virus which spreads from person to person.”

Ömer Faruk Gergerlioğlu, a deputy from the Peoples' Democratic Party (HDP), also took the floor, saying Turkey fell short of taking the necessary precautions against the fatal virus.

Mainopposition Republican People's Party (CHP) deputy Yüksel Özkan saidthat his party supports İYİ Party's motion.

The ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) deputy Recep Şeker on the other hand said that authorities were taking precautionary measures against the virus. “Our Health Ministry and its provincial organizations continue to take the necessary measures, working 7/24 since the moment this issue [virus] broke out. Our Health Ministry and other public institutions have taken all the precautions,” Şeker said.

Following discussions, İYİ Party's motion was rejected.

No known cases of coronavirus in TurkeyNo known cases of coronavirus in Turkey

WHO declares coronavirus emergency of global concern

Just hours later, the World Health Organization (WHO) declared that the coronavirus epidemic now constitutes a public health emergency of international concern.

Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, WHO director-general, announced the decision after a meeting of its Emergency Committee, an independent panel of experts, amid mounting evidence of the virus spreading to some 18 countries.

Tedros told a news conference in Geneva that recent weeks have witnessed an unprecedented outbreak which has been met by an unprecedented response.

“Let me be clear, this declaration is not a vote of no confidence in China,” he said. “Our greatest concern is the potential for the virus to spread to countries with weaker health systems,” he added.

The WHO panel, chaired by Didier Houssin of France, is composed of 16 independent experts.

Twice last week the experts had decided not to declare an emergency while they sought more information from China and awaited evidence of confirmed person-to-person spread of the virus in other countries, so as to meet their criteria for a global emergency.

The declaration of a global emergency triggers recommendations to all countries aimed at preventing or reducing cross-border spread of disease, while avoiding unnecessary interference with trade and travel.

 It covers temporary recommendations for national health authorities worldwide, which include stepping up their monitoring, preparedness and containment measures.

Although the WHO has no legal authority to sanction countries, it could ask governments to provide scientific justification for any travel or trade restrictions that they impose in the event of an international emergency.

Topics Coronavirus