The World Health Organization (WHO) has declared the coronavirus outbreak in China a public health emergency of international concern (PHEIC). “Over the past few weeks we have witnessed the emergence of a previously unknown pathogen, which has escalated into an unprecedented outbreak,” said WHO Director General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus on Thursday (local time). But he has made it clear that the declaration is not caused by the outbreak in China but is made due to what is happening outside the country. He added that there is no reason to limit trade or travel to China.
The new coronavirus is spreading fast with the number of confirmed cases and deaths in China recording the biggest daily increase. The number of confirmed cases in China rose to 9,692, up by 1,866 from the previous day, and the death toll increased by 43 to 213. A total of 9,831 cases have been confirmed globally, exceeding 8,098 cases of severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS) in 2003.
A possibility of an airborne infection has been raised in China. “Wuhan pneumonia is a lot different from SARS while much similar to the flu virus in terms of its transmission pattern,” a senior researcher at the Chinese Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) said in an interview with CCTV. “A research study has found that the new coronavirus spreads through droplets or aerosol particles an infected person coughs out in a closed space.
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