WHO declares world alert for coronavirus spread
The World Health Organization (WHO) Emergency Committee declared at its meeting on Thursday in Geneva that the new coronavirus (2019-nCoV) discovered in Wuhan (China) is an International Public Health Concern Emergency.
The organization has changed its criteria in just one week, after seeing the spread of the virus outside of China.
The director general of WHO, Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, has called for a "global action" to contain the spread of the virus, which so far affects some 10,000 people and has already killed more than 200. However, no restrictions to trade or travel have been imposed.
So far, more than 80 patients have been diagnosed in 19 countries outside of China. Finland, India, Italy and the Philippines have been the last to join the list. There have been no deaths outside of China.
In Finland, where one case of coronavirus has been detected in Lapland, the situation is being monitored by the Finnish Institute for Health and Welfare (THL).
The Declaration will enable WHO to provide operational guidelines and recommendations on the situation and to accelerate the allocation of international funding to support response efforts. A similar declaration has recently been made for the Congolese Ebola epidemic and the spread of the polio virus.
The purpose of the WHO International Health Code is to prevent, detect and combat cross-border health threats. The Health Code has been adopted by 196 United Nations member states.
Finnish authorities insisted on Thursday that the symptoms of those who have fallen ill have included a high temperature, coughing and shortness of breath. The best way to avoid infection is through good hand hygiene.
THL coordinates the follow-up of the international situation with the European Disease Office ECDC and WHO.