World Health Organization Declares Coronavirus As A Global Health Emergency

Avoid going to crowded places and stay healthy ok guys!

world health organization declares coronavirus as a global health emergencyPhoto: Business Insider

The new coronavirus outbreak that originated from Wuhan, China has been declared a Global Health Emergency by the World Health Organization (WHO), as the outbreak continues to spread outside of China.

WHO Chief, Tedros Adhanom Chebreyesus said that the main reason for this declaration is not about what is happening in China, but what is happening in other countries.

At least 213 people have died from the virus in China.

The concern is that it could spread to countries with weaker health systems.

According to Health and Science Correspondent, James Gallagher, many low and middle income countries simply lack the tools to spot or contain the virus. The fear is it could spread uncontrollably and it may go unnoticed for some time.

There has been 98 cases in 18 other countries, but no deaths so far. Most cases emerged in people who have recently travelled from the city of Wuhan, where the outbreak originated.

He added that there have been eight cases of human-to-human infection in Germany, Japan, Vietnam and the United States.

Speaking at a press conference in Geneva, Dr Tedros described the virus as an “unprecedented outbreak” that has been met with an “unprecedented response”.

Tedros also praised the extraordinary measures taken by the Chinese authorities to prevent it from spreading and said there is no reason to limit trade or travel to China, adding that this declaration is not a vote of no confidence in China.

world health organization declares coronavirus as a global health emergency

Various countries have taken steps to close borders or cancel flights to and from Wuhan, and many companies like Google, IKEA, Starbucks and Tesla have closed their shops or stopped operations due to the outbreak.

The WHO declares a Public Health Emergency of International Concern when there is an “extraordinary event which is determined… to constitute a public health risk to other states through the international spread of disease”.

They previously declared five global public health emergencies, according to

  1. Swine Flu, 2019 – The H1N1 virus spread across the world in 2009, killing more than 200,000 people and a public health emergency was called to ensure the world was carefully monitoring its spread and able to respond, including with vaccines.
  2. Polio, 2014 – closer than ever to eradication in 2012, polio numbers rose again in 2013. An emergency was declared due to fears the global fight against its eradication could face a major setback.
  3. Zika, 2016 – Declared a public health emergency in 2016 after the disease spread rapidly through the Americas. Many Zika symptoms are mild, but it can be dangerous for pregnant women and the emergency was called to push urgent research.
  4. Ebola, 2014 and 2019 – The first emergency over the virus lasted from August 2014 to March 2016 as almost 30,000 people were infected and more than 11,000 died in west Africa. The WHO cited “the virulence of the virus, the intensive community and health facility transmission patterns, and the weak health systems” in affected countries. A second emergency was declared last year as an outbreak spread in Democratic Republic of the Congo.

If you’re worried about this new coronavirus epidemic, here are some ways you can protect yourself from contracting the virus:

Take care, guys! 

By: Aishah Akashah Ahadiat