WHO to decide coronavirus is an int'l emergency, commends China's efforts

If it does so it will be only the sixth international emergency to be declared in the last decade.

FILE PHOTO - Medical staff carry a box as they walk at the Jinyintan hospital, where the patients with pneumonia caused by the new strain of coronavirus are being treated, in Wuhan, Hubei province, China January 10, 2020. Picture taken January 10, 2020 (photo credit: REUTERS/STRINGER/FILES)
FILE PHOTO - Medical staff carry a box as they walk at the Jinyintan hospital, where the patients with pneumonia caused by the new strain of coronavirus are being treated, in Wuhan, Hubei province, China January 10, 2020. Picture taken January 10, 2020
(photo credit: REUTERS/STRINGER/FILES)
The World Health Organization said that it will decide on Thursday whether to declare a global emergency over the outbreak of a new flu-like virus spreading from China.
If it does so it will be only the sixth international emergency to be declared in the last decade.
"The decision is one I take extremely seriously," WHO director-general Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said, adding that he was only prepared to make it with the appropriate amount of consideration and information.
He was speaking after the WHO held a day-long meeting of an independent panel of experts in Geneva on Wednesday.
Deaths from China's new coronavirus virus rose to 17 on Wednesday with more than 540 cases confirmed, increasing fears of contagion from an infection suspected to originate from illegally traded wildlife.
The previously unknown coronavirus strain is believed to have emerged from an animal market in the central city of Wuhan, with cases now detected as far away as the United States.
Wuhan is closing its transport networks and advising citizens not to leave the city, state media reported.
On Wednesday Ghebreyesus said that measures being taken in Wuhan to limit spread of the new coronavirus showed commitment to minimizing risks locally and abroad.
"What they are doing is a very, very strong measure and with full commitment. So based on the situation they are taking the action they deem is appropriate, is very important," WHO director-general Tedros Ahanom Ghebreyesus
"We stressed to them that by having a strong action not only they will control the outbreak in their country but they will also minimize the chances of this outbreak spreading internationally. So they recognize that," he said.
WHO officials said that they have not seen third or fourth generation transmission of the virus in China or secondary level spread in countries where it has spread.


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