The World Health Organization (WHO) has declared the coronavirus outbreak in China a global public health emergency, a week after hesitating to make the same declaration.
According to the New York Times, the new alert acknowledges that the outbreak poses a health risk outside of China, where it was first reported in a food market in the central city of Wuhan. As of today (Jan. 31), Chinese officials stated that more than 170 deaths have been confirmed as a result of infection.
Also today, U.S. officials reported the first person-to-person transmission of the virus in the country, after the husband of a woman who tested positive last week was also found to be infected.
The WHO reported that another 1,844 new cases were recorded between Jan. 30 and Jan. 31, bringing the global total to 7,818 worldwide. While the vast majority of the cases were inside China, 82 cases were confirmed in 18 other countries.
The outbreak prompted a travel advisory this week from the Canadian government, warning against unnecessary travel to China. The advisory prompted Air Canada to suspend flights to Beijing and Shanghai until at least Feb. 29.
Yesterday (Jan. 30), it was reported that approximately 6,000 passengers aboard the Costa Smeralda were prevented from disembarking the ship in Italy, over fears that a passenger on board may have contracted the coronavirus.
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