4. WHO declares a global health crisis
The World Health Organization has declared a global health emergency, saying the coronavirus poses a risk beyond China. The declaration is likely to boost the global response to the outbreak.
WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus expressed confidence in China’s capacity to check the outbreak. “Let me be clear. This declaration is not a vote of no confidence in China,” he was quoted as saying. “I have never in my life seen this kind of mobilization.”
In the last one-and-a-half decades, WHO has applied the designation to five prior situations: the H1N1 swine flu, polio, the Ebola twice and Zika virus.
At the second meeting of the Emergency Committee Thursday, representatives of China’s Ministry of Health reported that “there are now 7,711 confirmed and 12,167 suspected cases throughout the country. Of the confirmed cases, 1,370 are severe and 170 people have died. 124 people have recovered and been discharged from hospital.”
The WHO Secretariat said “there are now 83 cases in 18 countries. Of these, only seven had no history of travel in China. There has been human-to-human transmission in three countries outside China. One of these cases is severe and there have been no deaths.”