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WHO to have an emergency meeting over coronavirus as death toll rises to 170

By Mutala Yakubu
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The World Health Organization (WHO) will today January 30, 2020, have an emergency meeting today over the deadly coronavirus.

The death toll of the coronavirus has risen to 170 and with a confirmed case in Tibet, the virus has now spread to every region in mainland China.

WHO says the world must be on alert to deal with the spread of coronavirus. They urged countries to prepare so that they are ready to detect any cases that occur and isolate and treat the sick.

READ ALSO: Parliament to summon Health Minister over Coronavirus outbreak

WHO will reconvene its expert committee on today to decide whether to declare the Wuhan coronavirus outbreak a public health emergency of international concern. There are now 7,183 confirmed cases of viral pneumonia caused by the virus and 170 deaths, all of them in China.

“The whole world needs to be on alert now. The whole world needs to take action and be ready for any cases that come from the epicentre or other epicentres that become established,” said Dr Michael Ryan, the head of the WHO health emergencies programme.

What is the coronavirus?
The virus is thought to have emerged from illegally traded wildlife at a seafood market in Wuhan, the capital of Hubei province and where most cases and deaths have been reported.

Though there have been a handful of cases where it is thought to have spread between people - most of the confirmed cases are people who are from Wuhan or had close contact with someone who had been there.

While there is no specific cure or vaccine for the virus, many people who contract it have only mild symptoms and do recover from it. It can though cause severe acute respiratory infection and lead to death.

Like similar Sars and influenza viruses, the new coronavirus is thought to be particularly a risk for the elderly and people with pre-existing illnesses.

The city has effectively been sealed off and China has put numerous transport restrictions in place to curb the spread of the virus.

People who have been in Hubei Province are also being told by their employers to work from home until it is considered safe for them to return.

READ ALSO: Coronavirus: Ghanaian students in China suspend evacuation plans after getting help

The Chinese Football Association has announced the postponement of all games in the 2020 season.

Several international airlines have stopped or scaled back their routes to China and companies like Google, Starbucks and Tesla have closed their stores or stopped operations.