Coronavirus Now a Global Health Emergency
A coronavirus outbreak that began in central China is now considered a global health emergency, according to information provided by the World Health Organization Thursday.
The declaration constitutes a health risk to multiple countries and demands a coordinated international response, according to the UN Health Agency.
Nearly 100 cases of the virus have been confirmed in 18 countries outside of China, with the number of confirmed cases across the world increasing exponentially over the last week.
Six of those cases have been confirmed in the United States, including the first person-to-person infection between a couple in Illinois. A woman brought the virus back from China, and her husband subsequently fell ill, authorities said. Various reports had the female in good condition and the male in stable condition as of Thursday.
Through Wednesday, Jan. 29, 2020, China had reported more than 7,800 cases of the virus and at least 170 deaths, with more fatal cases expected in the coming days and weeks.
Scientists have not determined the precise manner(s) through which the virus spreads, but fears that it is contracted more easily than previously thought have grown with the number of reported cases. Person-to-person infection is now believed to have occurred on three major continents: Asia, North America and Europe.
Travel restrictions have been announced and trade may be impacted in the days ahead. Stock markets around the world have suffered as a result of the continued spread of the virus.