Coronavirus Not an International Emergency—Yet

People pass by the closed Hankou Railway Station in Wuhan in central China's Hubei province Thursday, Jan. 23, 2020.  Image: Feature China/Barcroft Media via Getty
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People pass by the closed Hankou Railway Station in Wuhan in central China's Hubei province Thursday, Jan. 23, 2020. Image: Feature China/Barcroft Media via Getty

Despite surging case numbers, the coronavirus outbreak is not yet an international health emergency, WHO announced yesterday, STAT reports.
 
“Make no mistake: This is an emergency in China,” WHO chief Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said. “But it has not yet become a global health emergency. It may yet become one.”
 
The latest numbers:

  • 800+ cases and 26 deaths in China, Reuters reports
  • The outbreak has spread to 7 countries: Thailand, Singapore, Japan, South Korea, Taiwan, the US, and now Vietnam.
  • UK cases are also likely

 
China is rushing to build a new 1,000-bed hospital in Wuhan to treat coronavirus patients and has expanded its public transportation shutdown to include 13 cities—affecting over 36 million people, AP reported.

Amid the shutdown, affected cities are experiencing shortages of medical supplies and everyday staples, reports South China Morning Post.
 
But are these large-scale shutdowns effective in stopping the spread of disease? Historically, no, writes Julia Belluz in Vox. Rather, China’s quarantine “could inadvertently make people have less confidence in the government response,” said Tom Inglesby, director of the Center for Health Security of the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health.

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