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WHO Director-General Says Will Decide Whether to Declare Public Health Emergency Over Coronavirus

© REUTERS / Denis BalibouseGeneral view of the World Health Organization (WHO) headquarters in Geneva, Switzerland, February 1, 2016
General view of the World Health Organization (WHO) headquarters in Geneva, Switzerland, February 1, 2016 - Sputnik International
The WHO Emergency Committee held a discussion on Wednesday over concerns about the Wuhan coronavirus, but it did not come to a concrete decision whether to declare a global state of emergency and is reconvening on Thursday to consider further steps.

Director-General of World Health Organisation (WHO) Dr Tedros said on Wednesday that the organisation needs more information to decide if the Emergency Committee should declare a public health emergency, adding that the decision is very serious.

"The decision about whether or not to declare a public health emergency of international concern is one I take extremely seriously, and one I am only prepared to make with appropriate consideration of all the evidence", Dr Tedros said at the meeting.

Dr Tedros asked the Committee to meet again on Thursday to continue the discussion on the issue, adding that it is an "evolving and complex situation". 

He also commented on the travel ban introduced in the Chinese city of Wuhan - the centre of the virus outbreak, saying that "what they are doing is very, very strong measures and with full commitment".

An outbreak of a previously unknown pneumonia was registered in Wuhan in late December, which was later identified as a new type of coronavirus and denoted as 2019-nCoV by the WHO.

The new virus sparked major concerns globally over the possibility of it turning into an epidemic, as cases of the Wuhan coronavirus have been already registered in Hong Kong and Taiwan, Thailand, Japan, South Korea, the United States, and also Macau. 

Chinese health authorities have confirmed that the virus can spread from human to human.

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