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Published on Thursday, January 30, 2020

WHO declares coronavirus a global health emergency






The World Health Organisation has declared the coronavirus outbreak an international public health emergency.


Speaking at a press conference in Geneva, Switzerland, after an emergency meeting, WHO director-general Tedros Adhanom said: "Over the past few weeks, we have witnessed the emergence of a previously unknown pathogen, which has escalated into an unprecedented outbreak, and which has been met by an unprecedented response."


It has now been confirmed that two people in the UK have the virus. The chief medical officer for England said they are members of the same family and are receiving specialist NHS care. Reports say the pair are from China who were staying in the York area. They are being treated in Newcastle. Authorities are now looking for anyone who may have come into contact with them in recent days.


Virgin Atlantic has now suspended flights to Shanghai following the WHO declaration.


Adhanom added: "As I have said repeatedly since my return from Beijing, the Chinese government is to be congratulated for the extraordinary measures it has taken to contain the outbreak, despite the severe social and economic impact those measures are having on the Chinese people.


"We would have seen many more cases outside China by now - and probably deaths - if it were not for the government's efforts, and the progress they have made to protect their own people and the people of the world."


See also: Coronavirus could put some Asia airlines out of business

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