The Coronavirus Outbreak Officially Declared as An International Health Emergency by The World Health Organization

According to the World Health Organization, the outbreak of the Coronavirus was officially declared as an international health emergency towards the end of January 2020. This was due to the first ever human-to-human virus transmission that took place in the United States.

More and more cases are coming in on a regular basis, due to which the international health authorities are considering this respiratory virus as a threat that has reached beyond China, the place from where it originated. This move could increase the worldwide response to this outbreak.

WHO arranged a meeting with their emergency committee, after which this declaration was made. Since then, multinational businesses, different governments, and China itself has taken the necessary steps in order to limit or stop the spread of this virus, for instance, putting a temporary stop to flights traveling to and coming from China.

As of the end of January, the number of individuals that got infected from human-to-human transmission has reached to six in the United States. One of the infected patients is the spouse of a woman from Chicago who recently got infected with this virus after she visited Wuhan, which is the central city of China and it was from here the Coronavirus was originated.

The CDC of the United States and the state officials pointed out that U.S. citizens, including the ones in Illinois, are at an overall lower risk. According to the Illinois Department of Public Health’s director, Ngozi Ezike, the spread of this specific case was between a husband and a wife, who are obviously in close contact. Hence, it is not going to spread to the rest of the community.

The authorities of public-health mentioned that WHO designation helped in mobilizing the resources in order to control the spread of the virus. The director-general at WHO can offer suggestions to their international community, even though they are not legally binding.

Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, the director-general of WHO, stated that he trusts China’s capability and capacity when it comes to controlling the outbreak. Since the outbreak of this virus, over 9,500 individuals are sick and 213 have been killed as of the end of January, mostly in the Hubei province of China that surrounds Wuhan.

Furthermore, Dr. Tedros also stated that even though they declared the outbreak as an international health emergency, he hasn’t lost his confidence in China. Even though he has never seen a mobilization of this kind in his life.

In China, the total number of infected cases exceeded the worldwide total number of cases for severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS). Even though, SARS killed approximately 800 people once it appeared in the south side of China towards the end of 2002 going into 2003.

It was in 2005, when WHO gained its power of declaring an international emergency. Since then, WHO has applied this designation to only five situations in the past. Starting from 2009, when the H1N1 swine flu came into being. Then in 2014, it was polio and in 2016 the Zika and Ebola virus outbreaks. In 2019, there was one more Ebola outbreak, but WHO declared it as a public emergency after much delay, for which they faced a lot of criticism.