Coronavirus Declared Global Public Health Emergency By World Health Organisation
The World Health Organisation (WHO) has declared the global outbreak of coronavirus to be a public health emergency of international concern.
"For all of these reasons, I am declaring a public health emergency of international concern over the global outbreak of #2019nCoV."-@DrTedros
- World Health Organization (WHO) (@WHO) January 30, 2020
The announcement was made during a press conference in Geneva.
The WHO's director general, Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, said: "The main reason is not what is happening in China but what is happening in other countries."
He added: "Our greatest concern is the potential for the virus to spread to countries with weaker health systems, and which are ill-prepared to deal with it."
Ghebreyesus praised China's speed on detected the outbreak, isolating the virus, sequencing the genome and sharing it with the WHO, saying the country's efforts were 'very impressive'.
"I also offer my profound respect and thanks to the thousands of brave health professionals and all frontline responders, who in the midst of the Spring Festival, are working 24/7 to treat the sick, save lives and bring this outbreak under control," he said.
"So far we have not seen any deaths outside China, for which we must all be grateful.
"Although these numbers are still relatively small compared to the number of cases in China, we must all act together now to limit further spread."
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The United States' Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has confirmed the country's first person-to-person transmission of coronavirus, with health officials explaining during a press briefing that a new patient is the spouse of a Chicago woman who brought the infection back with her from Wuhan in China, the epicentre of the outbreak.
The unnamed female patient - who returned from Wuhan on 13 January and went to hospital after experiencing symptoms of the viral illness - remains in isolation at a local hospital but is doing well.
Health officials said the new male patient - who is in his 60s - is currently in good condition despite 'some underlying medical conditions'.
Dr. Nancy Messonnier, director of the National Center for Immunization and Respiratory Diseases, said: "This is a very serious public health situation.
"Moving forward, we can expect to see more cases, and more cases means more potential for person-to-person spread."
The news makes the United States the fifth country - at least - where the infection is now spreading through human-to-human contact.
Meanwhile, Chinese health officials have said that, as of 29 January, the death toll from the coronavirus outbreak stands at 170, with 7,711 confirmed cases in the country.
Featured Image Credit: PA