Tibet reports first confirmed case of novel coronavirus pneumonia

Tibet reports first confirmed case of novel coronavirus pneumonia

The World Health Organization (WHO) has declared that the new coronavirus outbreak is a public health emergency of global concern, officials announced today (Jan. 30).

Spain's foreign minister tweeted on Tuesday that the country was continuing to work "with our partners in the European Union and China to organise the repatriation of Spaniards in Wuhan". The number of cases has jumped to 7,711, surpassing the 5,327 people diagnosed with Sars.

USA officials are continuing to work on plans to evacuate the remaining U.S. citizens.

Airlines have suspended services to China and companies from Starbucks to Tesla have shuttered stores and production lines.

But the measures have yet to pay dividends, with the government reporting 38 new deaths in the 24 hours to Thursday, the highest one-day total. All but one were in Hubei. It infected more than 8,000 people and killed almost 800 until it was controlled by some of the same public health measures being used in the current outbreak.

The Chinese mainland's stock market will remain closed until next Monday after authorities extended the Lunar New Year holiday by three days to halt the spread of the virus.

More than a dozen people from the first flight have been hospitalised with varying symptoms, while another 13 on the second evacuation also reported feeling unwell. With a case confirmed in Tibet, it has now spread to every corner of the country.

"We are in a truly new situation", Health Minister Katsunobu Kato told parliament.

It took four meetings of the World Health Organization emergency committee for the Ebola outbreak, which began in the Democratic Republic of Congo in 2018, to be declared a PHEIC.

Last week, WHO said it was "too early" to declare an global public health emergency but on Thursday said action was needed to help countries to prepare for the possibility of it spreading further.

In February 2016 the World Health Organization declared the mosquito-borne Zika virus a PHEIC - a declaration largely driven by concern over links between the disease and certain neurological conditions including microcephaly.

More than 6,000 tourists were under lockdown aboard the Costa Smeralda cruise ship after two Chinese passengers were isolated over fears they could be carrying the coronavirus.

Some 250 French citizens and 100 other Europeans will be flown out of Wuhan on board two French planes this week.

Around 650 Japanese citizens said they wanted to be repatriated, but the Japan Times reports that the government has not enforced any quarantine on those returning from the affected area of China.

Most street traffic in and around Wuhan has been banned. The first flight landed on January 29 and at least one more is expected in coming days.

China's highly developed online shopping and home delivery businesses were important in ensuring those confined to home by choice or by order could get food and other essentials.

Experts say China has been more forthcoming with information than it was during its 2003 SARS outbreak, but there are still concerns about how much data they are sharing. Taiwan, the self-governing republic China considers its own territory, has also asked to be able to repatriate its passport holders from Wuhan, but it, and the United Kingdom, said they were awaiting approval from Beijing.

"There will clearly be implications, at least in the near term, for Chinese output and I would guess for some of their close neighbours", Powell said. This is the world's eighth instance of human-to-human spread outside of China.

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