Coronavirus outbreak not yet pandemic, World Health Organization says

Henrietta Brewer
February 5, 2020

American Airlines announced Tuesday a halt to its flights from two US cities to Hong Kong, a semi-autonomous Chinese city that has confirmed cases of the new coronavirus.

Tedros said World Health Organization stands ready to provide advice to any country that is considering which measures to take, and called on all countries to work together in a spirit of solidarity and cooperation. Two to 3 percent of the patients are experiencing diarrhea. He said that the next step for African countries is to continue to strengthen prevention measures, hopefully with the support from the World Health Organization and China. Another 20 people who came into contact with the infected couple have shown no symptoms, but were being kept under observation.


Specialized laboratories in Africa, the United States, Europe, and Asia will get the kits to facilitate faster testing for the virus.

The outbreak, which began in the Chinese city of Wuhan, and has spread within the country and overseas, does not constitute a pandemic, but an epidemic with "multiple foci", she said. A pandemic is defined as a disease with significant outbreaks in multiple regions or continents.


So far, 22 nations have officially reported trade or travel-related measures linked to the coronavirus, which Tedros said should be "short in duration, proportionate" and reviewed regularly.

"That is why we need to define with those companies specific recommendations so their staff feel secure, feel protected as well so they can resume flying to China", she said. It was not clear from the Xinhua report how long she was being held, or whether she might already have been released.


There is no need for measures that "unnecessarily interfere with global travel and trade" in trying to halt the spread of the coronavirus that broke out in China, World Health Organization (WHO) chief Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said on Monday. "Due to the high demand for timely and trustworthy information about 2019- nCoV, WHO technical risk communication and social media teams have been working closely to track and respond to myths and rumors". "As such, CDC could be part of it", he said, referring to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Hong Kong closed 10 of its 13 routes on the border with China. Passengers and crew will be kept on board through Tuesday night until they can be screened for coronavirus. A number of deaths have been reported in China.

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