World Health Organization Declares Public Health Emergency Due To Coronavirus Outbreak

Thursday, January 30th 2020, 9:09 am
By: News On 6

The World Health Organization, a UN agency, has declared the outbreak of the coronovirus from China a global emergency after cases spiked more than tenfold in a week.

The Oklahoma Department of Health said they expect to hear the results Thursday from two residents who have been tested for the virus. 

Related Story: Oklahoma Department Of Health Reassures Residents Worried About Coronavirus 

A group of eminent experts says the world needs to boost preparedness for outbreaks like the new virus in China, notably through more funding to lesser developed countries.

The Global Preparedness Monitoring Board has urged governments - even in countries that have not been affected by the new coronavirus --to "urgently dedicate resources to building their essential preparedness capacities," and wants researchers to accelerate development of vaccines, diagnostics and treatments.

It said donors should "financially support lower resourced countries."

The board, co-sponsored by the World Bank and World Health Organization, started operating last March and its members include U.S. immunologist Dr. Anthony Fauci; Director-General of the Chinese Center for Disease Control and Prevention George Gao; and Russian Health Minister Veronika Skvortsova.

The group issued a statement Thursday expressing concern "that many countries remain unprepared" and urging leaders to act immediately to ensure they have what's necessary to respond to the virus.

Russia is closing its land border with China, similar to steps taken by Mongolia and North Korea, to guard against a new viral outbreak.
Russian Prime Minister Mikhail Mishustin issued the decree Thursday, ordering the 2,600-mile land border with China closed starting Friday. It had been de facto closed because of the Lunar New Year holiday, but Russian authorities said the closure would be extended until March 1.

Train traffic between the countries was halted except for one train connecting Moscow and Beijing. But no decision has been made about air traffic between Russia and China. Some countries have reduced flights and airlines have halted them because of the new virus that has sickened thousands in central China.
Russia has not confirmed any cases of the virus.

The dozens of cases outside China mostly have been in people who visited Wuhan, the epicenter of the outbreak.