China coronavirus: WHO yet to decide if Wuhan virus is a global health emergency

WION Web Team Beijing, Beijing, China Jan 23, 2020, 09.50 AM(IST)

Man dies of respiratory illness in Wuhan, China Photograph:( AFP )

Story highlights

After a day of discussions in Geneva. The World Health Organization's emergency committee is yet to decide whether to declare a global emergency over the outbreak.

The death toll due to the mysterious coronavirus in China has almost doubled in a single day and a total of 17 people have been killed till now. 

The Chinese city of nearly 11 million people will temporarily shut down public transport. Those living in the city are also advised to not leave the city.

Also Read: US confirms first case of coronavirus, death toll reaches nine

Meanwhile, after a day of discussions in Geneva. The World Health Organization's emergency committee is yet to decide whether to declare a global emergency over the outbreak.

"The decision about whether or not to declare a public health emergency of international concern is one I take extremely seriously, and one I am only prepared to make with appropriate consideration of all the evidence", World Health Organization's Director-General Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said at the meeting.

Also Read: Australia to begin screening passengers from China

 The panel agreed that more information was needed about the spread of the virus.The committee of health experts will meet again today to discuss further action.If declared, this will be the sixth international public health emergency to be declared in the last decade.

In Pics: What we know about new coronavirus outbreak in Chinese city of Wuhan

 "Today there was an excellent discussion during the committee meeting, but it was also clear that to proceed, we need more information. For that reason, I have decided to ask the emergency committee to meet again tomorrow to continue their discussion. And the chair, Dr (Didier) Houssin, has agreed with that request. The decision about whether or not to declare a public health emergency of international concern is one I take extremely seriously and one am only prepared to make with appropriate consideration of all the evidence." added Dr Tedros.

Several cases have been reported in other parts of the world, all involving people who had been to Wuhan.One case has also been reported in Japan, and 3 cases in Thailand, and one case in South Korea.

Taiwan also confirmed that one person has been infected by the virus.Cases have also been reported in Macau and Hong Kong.One case has been reported in the United States.

Meanwhile, airports in the United States, Australia and across Asia have begun extensive screening of passengers from Wuhan.Russian airports have also strengthened sanitary and quarantine control. Passengers were inspected with thermal cameras as they arrived from China.

Meanwhile, the National Institute of Health has said that a vaccine to combat the virus is underway.