Coronavirus: WHO declare a public health emergency

As the number of cases of novel coronavirus rises, the World Health Organization (WHO) take stock of the situation and declare an emergency.

The vast majority of novel coronavirus cases are still confined to China.

Cases of novel coronavirus, known as 2019-nCoV, first appeared in the city of Wuhan, in China’s Hubei province. Since the initial reports in December 2019, it has spread to a number of countries.

There have now been five confirmed cases in the United States and, as of today, two cases in the United Kingdom.

Authorities have also confirmed cases of the virus in Thailand, Australia, Nepal, France, and Japan. In total, there have been 98 cases in 18 countries other than China.

Of these cases, eight have involved human-to-human transmission; these occurred in Japan, Germany, Vietnam, and the U.S.

According to the WHO, the “vast majority” of cases outside of China developed in people who had either traveled from Wuhan or contacted someone who had made that trip.

As of Thursday, 170 people have died as a result of the virus, and every death occurred in China.

Emergency declared

In yesterday’s briefing, Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, Director-General of the WHO, congratulated China for the swift and transparent way that the country has handled this outbreak. He explained that “In many ways, China is actually setting a new standard for outbreak response.”

Dr. Ghebreyesus continued, “Thanks to their efforts, the number of cases in the rest of the world so far has remained relatively small.”

The WHO are confident that China is doing all that it can to contain the virus. The organization’s primary concern is that the virus might spread to countries that do not have robust health systems, which could be catastrophic.

For this reason, they have decided to declare a “public health emergency of international concern over the global outbreak of novel coronavirus.”

“To the people of China and to all of those around the world who have been affected by this outbreak, we want you to know that the world stands with you. We are working diligently with national and international public health partners to bring this outbreak under control as fast as possible.”

– Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus


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