The World Health Organization declared a public health emergency of international concern for the novel coronavirus, a rapidly-spreading contagion that causes respiratory issues and flu-like symptoms, after an emergency committee convened on Thursday, Jan. 30.
So far, 7,834 cases and 170 deaths have been reported. 7,736 cases and all of the deaths occurred in China.
“There are now 98 cases in 18 countries outside China, including eight cases of human-to-human transmission in four countries: Germany, Japan, Vietnam and the US,” Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, director-general of the World Health Organization, said in a press conference.
The US reported its first human-to-human transmission case in Illinois this morning.
As a result of the declaration, WHO will issue temporary recommendations in an effort to control the virus. Those recommendations could affect travel, trade, quarantine, screening and treatment, but are only temporary.
WHO declared the outbreak because of the potential for the virus to spread to other countries that are not prepared to deal with an outbreak like this, Ghebreyesus said. Ghebreyesus emphasized that WHO has confidence in China’s ability to control the virus.
“Although these numbers are still relatively small compared to the number of cases in China, we must all act together now to limit further spread,” Ghebreyesus said.
A potential case of novel coronavirus was discovered in Lawrence Memorial Hospital. If confirmed, the case would be Kansas’ first and the United States’ seventh.