GENEVA: The World Health Organization (WHO) announced on Thursday that China’s coronavirus epidemic now triggers an international public health emergency.
The decision was announced by Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, director-general of the WHO, after a conference of its emergency committee, an independent panel of experts, in the final stages of increasing evidence of the virus spreading to other 18 countries.
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Tedros told reporters in Geneva that an ongoing outbreak which was experienced by an unprecedented response has been witnessed in recent weeks.
The WHO committee, headed by France’s Didier Houssin, includeD 16 other experts in the health field decided to declare the outbreak as a global emergency.
Multiple times last week, the experts agreed not to declare an emergency while looking for more details from China and hoping for evidence of reported individual-to-person spread of the virus in other countries to fulfill their global emergency requirements.
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China increased the death toll to 170 on Thursday, and more countries confirmed outbreaks, some of them spread globally, as foreign evacuees from China’s worst-hit area went home to medical testing and even isolation.