The World Health Organization (WHO) has declared global health emergency for novel coronavirus. 

In a  second meeting of the Emergency Committee convened by the WHO Director-General under the International Health Regulations (IHR), regarding the outbreak of novel coronavirus 2019-nCoV in the People’s Republic of China, took place on Thursday, 30 January 2020. The Director-General made the final decision to declare a Public Health Emergency of International Concern (PHEIC).

According to WHO, representatives of the Ministry of Health of the People’s Republic of China reported on the current situation and the public health measures being taken. There are now 7711 confirmed and 12167 suspected cases throughout the country. Of the confirmed cases, 1370 are severe and 170 people have died. 124 people have recovered and been discharged from hospital.

The WHO Secretariat provided an overview of the situation in other countries: there are now 82 cases in 18 countries. Of these, only 7 had no history of travel in China. There has been human-to-human transmission in 3 countries outside China. One of these cases is severe and there have been no deaths, says WHO. 

In addition WHO recommended that China continue to:

  • Implement a comprehensive risk communication strategy to regularly inform the population on the evolution of the outbreak, the prevention and protection measures for the population, and the response measures taken for its containment.

  • Enhance rational public health measures for containment of the current outbreak.

  • Ensure the resilience of the health system and protect the health workforce.

  • Enhance surveillance and active case finding across China.

  • Collaborate with WHO and partners to conduct investigations to understand the epidemiology and the evolution of this outbreak and measures to contain it.

  • Share full data on all human cases.

  • Strengthen the efforts to identify a zoonotic source of the outbreak, and particularly the potential for ongoing circulation with WHO as soon as it becomes available.

  • Conduct exit screening at international airports and ports, with the aim of early detection of symptomatic travelers for further evaluation and treatment, while minimizing interference with international traffic.

It is expected that further international exportation of cases may appear in any country, says WHO. "Thus, all countries should be prepared for containment, including active surveillance, early detection, isolation and case management, contact tracing and prevention of onward spread of 2019-nCoV infection, and to share full data with WHO," concluded the press release.