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WHO Declares Coronavirus Outbreak A Global Public Health Emergency

WHO Declares Coronavirus Outbreak A Global Public Health Emergency

The Global Health Emergency announcement has only been used a few times in recent years, including during the 2009 H1N1 pandemic; the 2014 Ebola outbreak in West Africa; and the Zika virus epidemic in 2015-16.

Source: Getty Images/ Creative/ jarun011

The World Health Organization has labeled the Coronavirus outbreak a global public health emergency, reports NBC News. There have been more than 9,000 confirmed cases of Coronavirus and nearly 99 percent of them are in China. However, 98 people have been diagnosed in 18 other countries, including the United States. Soon after the W.H.O.'s declaration, the U.S. raised its travel advisory, warning citizens to not travel to China. Michael Richard Pompeo, the Secretary of the State Department took to Twitter to issue the warning: .@StateDept
is increasing the #China Travel Advisory to Level 4 – Do Not Travel. This is due to the spread of the novel #coronavirus throughout China & the @WHO determination that the outbreak constitutes a Public Health Emergency of International Concern



 

 

W.H.O.'s director-general, Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, said the declaration is not a "vote of no confidence" in China, as the country has been widely praised for its transparency and work to control the outbreak. "The speed with which China detected the outbreak, isolated the virus, sequenced the genome and shared it with WHO and the world are very impressive," Tedros, as he's known, said on Thursday during a news conference in Geneva.



 

 

Tedros then mentioned that the W.H.O. was acting to protect countries with fewer resources. "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," he said. Eight of the cases that have been registered outside China were all transmitted through human-to-human contact. These cases were reported in Germany, Japan, Vietnam, and the U.S.



 

 

Given that the virus is so new, we still need to learn about how it spreads or when people are contagious. "The major gap we've seen is getting detailed epidemiology β€” pattern of disease spread β€” so we can understand where the highest risks are," Dr. Tom Frieden, former CDC director and current president of Resolve to Save Lives, a global public health initiative, told NBC News.



 

 

Several experts are not really surprised that the W.H.O. has declared this as a global emergency because it is usually reserved for unusual and serious public health events that have the potential to spread disease worldwide. "This declaration may make it easier to access and mobilize further funds for resource-poor countries, and promote the need for further global cooperation," Dr. Michael Head, a senior research fellow in global health at the University of Southampton in England, said in a statement.



 

 

The W.H.O. also emphasized that their announcement should not disrupt any country's economy unnecessarily. "There is no reason for measures that unnecessarily interfere with international travel and trade. WHO doesn't recommend limiting trade and movement," Tedros said. Meanwhile, the Russian government said they had plans to close their border with China in an effort to keep the virus out of its country. 



 

 

This decision comes despite the fact that infectious disease experts say viruses do not recognize such boundaries. The Global Health Emergency announcement has only been used a few times in recent years, including during the 2009 H1N1 pandemic; the 2014 Ebola outbreak in West Africa; and the Zika virus epidemic in 2015-16. As of now, six people in the US have been diagnosed with the new coronavirus: two each in Illinois and California, and one each in Arizona and Washington state. The overall risk of spread in the U.S. remains low, officials said.



 

 

 


 
 

Disclaimer : This is based on sources and we have been unable to verify this information independently.

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