The chief of the World Health Organization says it will decide Thursday whether to declare the coronavirus outbreak that has now killed 170 people a global health emergency.
The WHO said last week the outbreak did not meet that threshold, but that was before the number of confirmed cases soared to 7,711, including more than 1,700 new cases Wednesday.
“The continued increase in cases, and evidence of human-to-human transmission outside China are, of course, deeply concerning,” WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus told reporters at WHO headquarters in Geneva Wednesday, a day after he visited Beijing. “Although the numbers outside China are relatively small, they hold the potential for a much larger outbreak.”
Several countries have evacuated their nationals from Wuhan, the Chinese city at the epicenter of the outbreak. International airlines have suspended direct flights to China.
Tedros said 99% of all confirmed cases are in China. Fifteen other countries have confirmed 68 cases. All but one of the 170 deaths have occurred in Wuhan and in Hubei province.
The number of new coronavirus cases now exceeds those of the 2002-03 SARS epidemic that killed 800 people worldwide. Tedros praised Beijing for its response.
“China’s efforts to contain the outbreak at the epicenter have been essential for preventing the further spread of the virus,” he said. “China identified the pathogen in record time and shared it immediately, which led to the rapid development of diagnostic tools.”
Source : VOA