Economy

Coronavirus outbreak is 'public health emergency of global concern,' WHO declares

Coronavirus outbreak is 'public health emergency of global concern,' WHO declares”

The Centers for Disease Control Thursday reported the first case of human transmission in the United States. "The virus is not spreading widely throughout the community".

"Although the numbers outside China are still relatively small, they hold the potential for a much larger outbreak", said World Health Organization Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, calling the continued rise in the number of infections and direct transmission "most deeply disturbing".

A woman, who declined to give her name, wears a mask, January 30, 2020, in NY.

While a travel ban would seem to be the most practical response to containing the virus, Forbes' contributor Will Horton points out the difficulties of stopping travelers who pass through other cities while traveling between China and the United States.

Passengers wear protective masks to protect against the spread of the coronavirus as they arrive on a flight from Asia at the Los Angeles International Airport on Wednesday.

Prior to the CDC's announcement, all five confirmed cases of 2019-nCoV in the USA were travel-related.

"The main reason for this declaration is not because of what is happening in China, but because of what is happening in other countries", Dr Ghebreyesus told reporters on Thursday.

"They are taking extraordinary measures in the face of what is an extraordinary challenge", he said, referring to China.

U.S. President Donald Trump was briefed on the outbreak by those he calls the "great agencies" working with China.

"We will continue to monitor the ongoing developments".

He later tweeted out photos from a briefing on the virus he attended with administration officials in the Situation Room, writing that "we have the best experts anywhere in the world and they are on top of it 24/7!"

For example, officials in the city of Wuhan, China - the epicentre of the outbreak - said it's likely that more than 5 million people had already left the city for the holiday before the travel crackdown. It has not yet decided whether to impose a travel ban.

Zeng Guang, chief epidemiologist at the Chinese Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), said Wednesday in an interview with the state-run Global Times that the local authorities' delayed response was "mainly because of [their] lack of scientific recognition" of the new type of coronavirus. They will remain at a USA military base in California at least through the end of the week.

The WHO said there had been 98 cases in 18 counties outside of China, but no deaths.

The CDC's Dr. Nancy Messonnier says the symptoms of a cold or the flu and the coronavirus are the same, but the risk factors are having visited China's Hubei province or having close contact with those who have been there.



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