The spread of the novel coronavirus that has emerged from Wuhan, China, has been declared a global health emergency by the World Health Organization (WHO).
At least 213 people in the China have died from the virus, mostly in Hubei, with almost 10,000 cases nationally. The WHO reported there have been 98 cases in 18 other countries, but no deaths, and that most international cases are in people who had been to Wuhan in Hubei. However in eight cases, in Germany, Japan, Vietnam and the United States, patients were infected by people who had travelled to China.
‘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.
Additionally, two people have tested positive for coronavirus in the UK, the chief medical officer for England has announced. They are both members of the same family and are receiving specialist NHS care.
‘The NHS is extremely well-prepared and used to managing infections and we are already working rapidly to identify any contacts the patients had, to prevent further spread,’ said Prof Chris Whitty, chief medical officer for England.
‘We have been preparing for UK cases of novel coronavirus and we have robust infection control measures in place to respond immediately.’