(1/30/2020) The World Health Organization has finally declared a global emergency over the spread of the coronavirus that originated in Wuhan, China.
At the time of publication, the coronavirus has infected people in 18 countries:
-Australia – 7
-Cambodia – 1
-Canada – 3
-China – 7711
-France – 5
-Finland – 1
-Germany – 4
-India – 1
-Japan – 11
-Malaysia – 8
-Nepal – 1
-Philippines – 1
-Singapore – 10
-South Korea – 6
-Sri Lanka – 1
-Taiwan – 8
-Thailand – 14
-United States of America – 6
-United Arab Emirates – 4
-Vietnam – 4
It's important to note that many believe the numbers coming from China are inaccurate.
The AP reports:
Experts say there is significant evidence the virus is spreading among people in China and have noted with concern instances in other countries — including the United States, France, Japan, Germany, Canada and Vietnam — where there have also been isolated cases of human-to-human transmission.
Speaking to reporters in Geneva, WHO director-general Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus noted the worrisome spread of the virus between people outside China.
The main reason for this declaration is not because of what is happening in China but because of what is happening in other countries, he said. ""Our greatest concern is the potential for this virus to spread to countries with weaker health systems which are ill-prepared to deal with it."
"This declaration is not a vote of non-confidence in China…on the contrary, WHO continues to have the confidence in China's capacity to control the outbreak," he said.
On Thursday, France confirmed that a doctor who was in contact with a patient with the new virus later became infected himself. The doctor is now being treated in an isolated room at a Paris hospital. Outbreak specialists worry that the spread of new viruses from patients to health workers can signal the virus is becoming adapted to human transmission.
A declaration of a global emergency typically brings greater money and resources, but may also prompt nervous governments to restrict travel and trade to affected countries. The announcement also imposes more disease reporting requirements on countries. (source)
The global emergency declaration could come with greater travel restrictions, more extensive disease reporting requirements, and more money and resources contributed to the fight.
You should get prepared just in case the situation continues to devolve.
While the declaration should serve as a warning to get prepared just in case, it's important to note that other declarations have not resulted in an epic disaster.
The last time WHO declared a global health emergency was in 2019 for the Ebola outbreak in eastern Congo that killed more than 2,000 people. The agency also declared global emergencies for the 2016 Zika virus, the 2009 H1N1 swine flu, and the 2014 polio and Ebola outbreaks. (source)