WHO says China virus ‘too early’ for emergency declaration


LONDON (AP) – The World Health Organization says a viral illness in China that has sickened hundreds of people is not yet a global health emergency.

WHO issued its evaluation came after Chinese authorities moved to lock down three cities earlier in the day and canceled major events in the capital, Beijing, during the Lunar New Year holiday period to try to contain the new virus.

The United Nations health agency based the decision after independent experts spent two days assessing information about the spread of the newly identified coronavirus.

Didier Houssin, the chair of the emergency advisory committee, said, “It’s too early to consider this as a public health emergency of international concern,” but noted the panel “was very divided, almost 50-50.”

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