Millions of Chinese nationals were forced to cancel their travel plans and seek refuge in their homes amid the panic and confusion caused by the recent coronavirus outbreak. The country’s government has told people to stay in their homes to avoid being exposed to the novel illness on Thursday and ordered a lockdown in three of central China’s cities. This move was made to mitigate the spread of the fatal virus that has so far claimed 17 lives.
Health authorities in the country reported that over 570 cases of people who have contracted the virus as of Wednesday. Cases of what is known as the 2019-nCoV have emerged outside China’s borders including two confirmed cases in Hong Kong, one in Singapore and one in the United States. Alarms have been raised as officials expect the virus to increase in transmission.
Meanwhile, the World Health Organization (WHO) held a press conference in Geneva, Switzerland on Thursday. Officials of the United Nations agency say that it is too early to declare the 2019-nCoV outbreak as a global emergency.
WHO’s director-general Tedros Adhanom told media on Thursday, “Make no mistake, this is, though, an emergency in China. But it has not yet become a global health emergency. It may yet become one.”
He added, “The fact that I’m not declaring a [global health emergency] today should not be taken as a sign that the WHO does not think the situation is serious or is not taking it seriously.”
It was confirmed on Wednesday that the growing epidemic can be contagious through respiratory transmission between humans.