WHO declares international health emergency

White House considers ban on China flights amid coronavirus outbreak

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As the death toll from the coronavirus climbed to 170, U.S. health officials on Thursday reported the first U.S. case of person-to-person spread of the virus and the World Health Organization declared a glboal health emergency.

The U.N. health agency defines an international emergency as an “extraordinary event” that constitutes a risk to other countries and requires a coordinated international response.

Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, director-general of the WHO, which held an Emergency Committee meeting in Geneva, noted that there are 98 cases of coronavirus in 18 countires, including at least 8 in four countries — Germany, Japan, Viet Nam and the U.S.

“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.

The first case of person-to-person transmission in the U.S. is the husband of a Chicago woman who developed symptoms after visiting China.

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