Coronavirus: WHO declines to declare global emergency

The timing of the Wuhan coronavirus could be a global-health nightmare

The timing of the Wuhan coronavirus could be a global-health nightmare

WHO plans another meeting of scientific experts Thursday on whether to recommend declaring the outbreak a global health emergency, which it defines as an "extraordinary event" that constitutes a risk to other countries and requires a coordinated worldwide response.

Outbreak: The current epidemic, which started in mid-December and has already affected more than 500 people, with several fatalities, may have originated in an animal market in the city of Wuhan, a city of 11 million that Chinese authorities have put under quarantine.

The researchers, including Wei Ji from Peking University Health Science Centre in China, said patients who became infected with the coronavirus-named 2019-nCoV by the World Health Organization (WHO)-were exposed to wildlife animals at a wholesale market, where seafood, poultry, snake, bats, and farm animals were sold.

'This should not be taken as a sign that we don't think the outrbreak is serious, or that we are not taking it seriously, ' said WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus. "Nothing could be further from the truth".

Meanwhile on Wednesday, the federal NDP health critic Don Davies said while there are no confirmed cases in Canada, worldwide cases of the virus are troubling to Canadians and reinforce the need for on-going monitoring and preparedness.

After analyzing these sequences, scientists discovered the protein codes in the coronavirus were most similar to those in the Chinese krait and Chinese cobra.

'Be ready to cope with some cases, ' he advised.

Meanwhile, the CDC has issued its highest travel warning, but the State Department had advised Americans planning to visit China to exercise increased caution. Japan confirmed its first case two days later, but as recently as last weekend - and despite a second death in China from the virus - no screening was taking place in airports in the United Kingdom or Australia.

Major airports are screening worldwide arrivals travelling from China, in an effort to prevent the spread of the disease. The first case outside China was detected in Thailand on 14 January, in a woman who had travelled to the country from China.

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He reportedly had no symptoms of the virus upon arrival but, after reading about the outbreak online and developing symptoms, he contacted his doctor.

During a news conference in Geneva, Houssin suggested that China's view of the outbreak was a factor in Thursday's decision.

But near-empty trains and planes still headed into Wuhan, with hardy passengers donning surgical masks and gloves to fearless the journey.

Chibi, Zhijiang, and Qianjiang also said they would be suspending its public, rural, provincial and county passenger transport from midnight.

The Epidemic Response Command Center of Huanggang City said in a statement: "All public transportation in Huanggang city will be closed".

"What we're seeing here with Wuhan and the two other cities appears more than social distancing", Phelan said.

The outbreak came at a particularly mobile time for Chinese people, with millions on the move to be with loved ones for the lunar new year, so it was inevitable that the virus would spread.

Nearly all of the 17 deaths have occurred among older males who had pre-existing conditions.

Another strain is Middle East respiratory syndrome (Mers), which kills around three or four in every 10 patients, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

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