Culture

Breaking: UN Says Coronavirus Is Now a 'Global Emergency'

In this photo released by China's Xinhua News Agency, a medical staff member wearing protective a suit works in the department of infectious diseases at Wuhan Union Hospital in Wuhan in central China's Hubei Province, Tuesday, Jan. 28, 2020. (Xiao Yijiu/Xinhua via AP)

Don’t look now, but the coronavirus that got its start in Wuhan, China, is now an international emergency. At least, that’s how the UN’s World Health Organization (WHO) has deemed it after an emergency meeting held Thursday.

As we reported Wednesday the UN was set to hold the meeting after a series of airlines stopped flights to Wuhan, fearing they would aid in spreading the flu-like bug.

The head of WHO, Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, says he’s making the international declaration because he’s concerned it will burn through third-world countries with less than optimal public health organizations.

Ghebreyesus says it’s not a vote of no-confidence in China.

Three first-world countries report person-to-person transmission of the virus, including the U.S., Germany, and Japan. Person-to-person contagion has also been reported in Vietnam.

The AP reports that “China first informed WHO about cases of the new virus in late December. To date, China has reported more than 7,800 cases including 170 deaths. Eighteen other countries have since reported cases, as scientists race to understand how exactly the virus is spreading and how severe it is.”

Russia has closed its 2,600-mile-long border to China until March.