Coronavirus declared global emergency by WHO; toll crosses 200
Almost 10,000 cases of the virus have been confirmed in China, while 100 cases have been reported in 18 other countries.
The new coronavirus has been declared a global health emergency by the World Health Organization (WHO) as the death toll from the outbreak reached 213 in China. The epidemic continues to spread worldwide.
Almost 10,000 cases of the virus have been confirmed in China, the country’s health authorities said.
The death toll in Hubei, the Chinese province at the centre of the epidemic, has increased to 204. About 100 cases have been reported in at least 18 other countries, with no deaths outside China, the WHO said.
NEWS: #Coronavirus declared a public health emergency of international concern by @WHO.— United Nations (@UN) January 30, 2020
Global outbreak includes 98 cases in 18 countries, outside China.
More info, including tips on how to stay healthy: https://t.co/tsGUhNhrv2 pic.twitter.com/ZDyTXeVXyg
"The main reason for this declaration is not what is happening in China but what is happening in other countries," said WHO chief Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus.
Speaking at a news conference in Geneva, Dr Tedros described the virus as an "unprecedented outbreak" that has been met with an "unprecedented response".
He praised the "extraordinary measures" Chinese authorities had taken, and said there was no reason to limit trade or travel to China. "Let me be clear, this declaration is not a vote of no confidence in China," he said.
Previously, there have been 5 public health emergencies of international concern declared:— World Health Organization (WHO) (@WHO) January 30, 2020
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Most international cases relate to people who had been to the Chinese city of Wuhan – the capital of Hubei -- where the outbreak began in December. However, there have been eight cases of human-to-human infection - in Germany, Japan, Vietnam and the United States.
Italy announced its first confirmed cases, in two Chinese tourists. The country's Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte said the government had decided to close all air traffic between Italy and China, a more drastic measure than most countries have undertaken.
On Thursday, India also confirmed its first case of the virus -- a student in Kerala who was studying in Wuhan.
Advisory for travellers returning from #China:#nCoV2020 #coronavirusindia #CoronavirusOutbreak @PMOIndia @drharshvardhan @AshwiniKChoubey @PIB_India @MEAIndia @MoCA_GoI @DDNewslive @airnewsalerts pic.twitter.com/DXBsWKmcjl— Ministry of Health (@MoHFW_INDIA) January 30, 2020
Foreign governments have been flying home their citizens from Hubei and holding them in quarantine, while airlines including Air France, American Airlines and British Airways have stopped flying to mainland China.
The UK, Australia, South Korea, Singapore and New Zealand are expected to quarantine all evacuees for two weeks to monitor them for symptoms and avoid any contagion.
Australia plans to quarantine its evacuees on Christmas Island, 2,000km from the mainland in a detention centre that has been used to house asylum seekers.
In the US, Chicago health officials have reported the first US case of human-to-human transmission. Around 200 US citizens have been flown out of Wuhan and are being isolated at a Californian military base for at least 72 hours.
Russia has decided to close its 4,300km (2,670-mile) far-eastern border with China.
Stocks around the world have tumbled on fears of the economic fallout from the outbreak in the world's second-biggest economy.
Companies like Google, Ikea, Starbucks and Tesla have closed their shops or stopped operations in China.
Wuhan under lockdown
Some 60 million people in Hubei province are living under virtual lockdown. The city has effectively been sealed off and China has put numerous transport restrictions in place to curb the spread of the virus.
There had been a further 1,220 cases detected in Hubei by end of January 30, taking the total for the province to close to 6,000, Hubei's health commission said.
The WHO declares a Public Health Emergency of International Concern when there is "an extraordinary event which is determined… to constitute a public health risk to other states through the international spread of disease".
Its move will trigger tighter containment and information-sharing guidelines to all countries, but may disappoint Beijing, which had expressed confidence it can beat the "devil" virus.
China's UN ambassador Zhang Jun said Beijing was assessing the declaration.