Coronavirus declared global health emergency

Passengers at Auckland Airport, where flights from Guangzhou and Shanghai had touched down. Photo: RNZ / Liu Chen.

The World Health Organisation has declared the coronavirus outbreak in China a public health emergency of international concern.

Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, WHO director-general, announced the decision after a meeting of independent panel of experts, amid mounting evidence of the virus spread to some 18 countries.

"Let me be clear, this declaration is not a vote of no-confidence in China", he says.

The greatest concern was the potential for the virus to spread to countries with weaker health systems, he says.

The outbreak has killed 170 people in China where the virus originated in an illegal wildlife market in the city of Wuhan.


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