As cases of coronavirus spread quickly across multiple countries, the WHO declared the outbreak a Public Health Emergency of International Concern. The declaration indicates an extraordinary event which constitutes an international spread of a disease that requires a coordinated international response. Meanwhile, the US State Department issued a level four warning, asking its citizens to not travel to China. It has asked people to leave China using commercial means.
The UN health warning reversed its position from last week that held off on any such declaration. This reversal of position came with a significant increase in the number of cases with additional cases reported from other countries. China reported 7711 confirmed cases, 12167 suspected cases, of which 1370 cases were severe and 124 people have recovered. The death toll now stands at 170. Internationally, the outbreak has spread to 18 countries with 83 confirmed cases.
While declaring the emergency, the WHO also made it clear that it was satisfied with China’s efforts in containing and treating the outbreak. The declaration was more in light of international events and seeing the spread of the disease.
“It is expected that further international exportation of cases may appear in any country. Thus, all countries should be prepared for containment, including active surveillance, early detection, isolation and case management, contact tracing and prevention of onward spread of 2019-nCoVinfection, and to share full data with WHO,” said the press release issued by the organization.