As deaths rise: WHO calls emergency meeting to get answers from China, contain coronavirus

WHO Director-General Dr. Tedros Ghebreyesus (Photo: Pan-American Health Organisation)

Director-General for the World Health Organisation (WHO) Dr. Tedros Ghebreyesus has called for an emergency meeting on Wednesday, January 22, to discuss the outbreak of novel coronavirus (2019-nCoV).

The novel coronavirus, which is raising alarm in sections of China and South Asia, has officially killed six people in China as the country reports more than 300 cases of infection.

In a tweet on Monday (Jan. 20), Dr. Ghebreyesus said that the emergency committee comes as the WHO seeks to ascertain whether the 2019-nCov constitutes a crisis of international concerns, as well as countermeasures to contain the outbreak.

“I am convening an Emergency Committee to ascertain whether the novel #coronavirus (2019-nCoV) constitutes a public health emergency of international concern and what recommendations should be made to manage the outbreak,” he said.

According to a WHO bulletin, the novel coronavirus outbreak, which began in the Chinese city of Wuhan two weeks ago, has since been exported to neighbouring countries Japan, South Korea and Thailand.

WHO says it was informed on December 31, 2019, of a cluster of cases of pneumonia of unknown cause detected in Wuhan City, Hubei Province in central China.

Chinese health officials continue to race against the clock to contain 2019-nCoV that has sickened more than 300 after it was confirmed the infection can spread between humans.

A man leaves the Wuhan Medical Treatment Centre, where the first case of the novel coronavirus was first confirmed. (Photo: CNBC.com)

Wuhan announced a series of new measures on Tuesday (Jan. 21), including a postponement of its upcoming Lunar New Year celebrations, which were expected to attract hundreds of thousands of people.

Travel nor trade restrictions haven’t been imposed on any of the countries with novel coronavirus at the time of publication.