The new coronavirus has been declared a worldwide emergency by the planet Health Organization because the outbreak continues to spread outside China.
“The main reason for this declaration is not what is happening in China but what is happening in other countries,” said WHO chief Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus.
The worry is that it could extend to countries with weaker health systems.
Meanwhile, the US has told its citizens to not visit China.
The state branch issued A level four warning – having previously advised Americans to “reconsider” visit China – and stated any residents in China “should don’t forget departing the use of business means”.
China has said it’ll send charter plans to bring back Hubei province residents who are overseas “as soon as possible”.
A foreign ministry spokesman said this was due to the “practical difficulties” Chinese citizens have faced abroad. Hubei is where the virus emerged.
At least 213 humans in China have died from the virus, mainly in Hubei, with nearly 10,000 instances nationally.
The WHO said there had been 98 cases in 18 other countries, but no deaths.
Most international cases are in people that had been to Wuhan in Hubei.
However in eight cases – in Germany, Japan, Vietnam, and therefore the US – patients were infected by people that had traveled to China.
Speaking at a press convention in Geneva, Dr. Tedros defined the virus as an “unprecedented outbreak” that has been met with an “exceptional response”.
He praised the “extraordinary measures” Chinese authorities had taken and said there was no reason to limit trade or visit China.
“Let me be clear, this declaration isn’t a vote of no confidence in China,” he said.
But numerous nations have taken steps to shut borders or cancel flights, and corporations like Google, Ikea, Starbucks, and Tesla have closed their stores or stopped operations.
The US Commerce Secretary, Wilbur Ross, has said the outbreak could “accelerate the return of jobs to North America”.
How is China handling the outbreak?
A confirmed case in Tibet means the virus has reached every region in China. consistent with the country’s National Health Commission, 9,692 cases have tested positive.
The central province of Hubei, where nearly all deaths have occurred, is during a state of lockdown. The province of 60 million people is home to Wuhan, the guts of the outbreak.
The city has effectively been sealed and China has put numerous transport restrictions in situ to curb the spread of the virus.
People who are in Hubei also are being told to figure from home until it’s considered safe for them to return.
The virus affects China’s economy, the world’s second-largest, with a growing number of nations advising their citizens to avoid all non-essential visits to the country.
How is that the world responding?
Voluntary evacuations of many foreign nationals from Wuhan are underway.
The UK, Australia, South Korea, Singapore, and New Zealand are predicted to quarantine all evacuees for 2 weeks to observe them for signs and symptoms and avoid contagion.
Australia plans to quarantine its evacuees on Christmas Island, 2,000km (12 hundred miles) from the mainland during a prison that has been wont to house asylum seekers.
In other recent developments:
Italy suspended flights to China after Chinese tourists in Rome were diagnosed with the virus; earlier 6,000 human beings onboard a cruise liner was quickly barred from disembarking
In the US, Chicago health officials have reported the primary US case of human-to-human transmission. Around 200 US citizens are flown out of Wuhan and are being isolated at a Californian military base for a minimum of 72 hours
Russia has decided to shut its 4,300km (2,670-mile) far-eastern border with China
2 flights to Japan already landed in Tokyo. Japan has now raised its communicable disease advisory level for China
Some 250 French nationals are evacuated from Wuhan
India has confirmed its first case of the virus – a student within the southern state of Kerala who was studying in Wuhan
Israel has barred all flight connections with China
Papua New Guinea has banned all visitors from “Asian ports”
North Korea will suspend all flights and trains to and from China, said British ambassador to North Korea