World Health Organization declares global public health emergency over coronavirus outbreak


World Health Organization (WHO) Director-General Tedros Adhanom | Photo by FABRICE COFFRINI/AFP via Getty Images

The ongoing coronavirus outbreak is a global health emergency, the World Health Organization determined today. Since it started last month, the virus’s spread has reached nearly two dozen countries, sickened thousands, and impacted both travel and business around the world.

“The main reason is not because of what is happening in China, but because of what is happening in other countries,” said Tedros Adhanom, director general of the WHO, in a press conference today. “Our greatest concern is the potential for the virus to spread to other countries with weaker health systems, which are ill prepared to deal with it.”

The WHO defines a global emergency — formally, a Public Health Emergency of International Concern — as “an extraordinary…

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