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After 213 deaths, WHO declares Coronavirus a global health emergency

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THE World Health Organisation (WHO) has declared novel coronavirus (nCoV) a public health emergency, following the record of 213 deaths and over 7,000 confirmed cases in China.

Director-General of WHO, Tedros Ghebreyesu, made the announcement during a press conference on the Emergency Committee meeting on Coronavirus held on Thursday. This is coming a week after the agency first stated that it wasn’t ready to declare it an emergency yet.

According to Ghebreyesu, the 98 cases  of Coronavirus in 18 other countries and the rise of the death toll in China has caused for it to be declared a global health emergency of international concern.

The public health authority in his address also commended China in its effort to contain the outbreak which has now spread to every region of China and over a dozen countries. He also reiterated that the spread of the virus was not to pass a vote of no-confidence on China but because of what is happening in other countries.

Let me be clear: this declaration is not a vote of no confidence in China. On the contrary, WHO continues to have confidence in China’s capacity to control the outbreak,” he said.

Ghebreyesu also said that the organisation has the responsibility of protecting countries with weaker health systems from the deadly virus.

“Our greatest concern is the potential for the virus to spread to countries with weaker health systems, and which are ill-prepared to deal with it,” he said.

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In Nigeria, for many decades, the health system has been plagued with challenges that hinder quality service delivery and optimum functionality.

As of the time of filing this report, there have been no known recorded or suspected case(s) of Coronavirus in Nigeria.

However, many have expressed helplessness on social media over the possibility of the virus entering the country, notorious for its challenging health-care system.

Recall that The ICIR earlier shared 10 major facts about the deadly Coronavirus from China.

It was highlighted that there are no vaccines and known cure for Coronavirus but people are advised to wash their hands with soap regularly as well as cover hands, mouth and nose when sneezing or coughing.

Seun Durojaiye is a journalist with International Center for Investigative Reporting (ICIR).

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