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    Coronavirus declared global health emergency by WHO

    January 31, 2020
     

    The new coronavirus has been declared a global emergency by the World Health Organization, as the outbreak continues to spread outside China."The main reason for this declaration is not what is happening in China but what is happening in other countries," said WHO chief Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus.The concern is that it could spread to countries with weaker health systems.Meanwhile, the US has told its citizens not to travel to China.
    The State Department issued a level four warning - having previously urged Americans to "reconsider" travel to China - and said any citizens in China "should consider departing using commercial means".At least 213 people have died in China, with almost 10,000 cases of the virus.The WHO said there had been 98 cases in 18 other countries, but no deaths.Most international cases are in people who had been to the Chinese city of Wuhan, where the outbreak began.
    However, there have been eight cases of human-to-human infection - in Germany, Japan, Vietnam and the United States.Speaking at a news conference in Geneva, Dr Tedros described the virus as an "unprecedented outbreak" that has been met with an "unprecedented response".
    Coronavirus outbreak outside China
    18
    The number of countries with cases

    14Cases in Thailand

    11Japan

    10Singapore

    7Australia and Malaysia

    5France and USA

    He praised the "extraordinary measures" Chinese authorities had taken, and said there was no reason to limit trade or travel to China."Let me be clear, this declaration is not a vote of no confidence in China," he said.But various countries have taken steps to close borders or cancel flights, and companies like Google, Ikea, Starbucks and Tesla have closed their shops or stopped operations.The US Commerce Secretary, Wilbur Ross, has said the outbreak could "accelerate the return of jobs to North America".Preparing other countriesWhat happens if this virus finds its way into a country that cannot cope?Many low and middle income countries simply lack the tools to spot or contain it. The fear is it could spread uncontrollably and that it may go unnoticed for some time.Remember this is a disease which emerged only last month - and yet there are already almost 10,000 confirmed cases in China.The 2014 Ebola outbreak in West Africa - the largest in human history - showed how easily poorer countries can be overwhelmed by such outbreaks.And if novel coronavirus gets a significant foothold in such places then it would be incredibly difficult to contain.
    We are not at that stage yet - 99% of cases are in China and the WHO is convinced the country can control the outbreak there.But declaring a global emergency allows the WHO to support lower and middle income countries to strengthen their disease surveillance - and prepare them for cases.
    The WHO declares a Public Health Emergency of International Concern when there is "an extraordinary event which is determined… to constitute a public health risk to other states through the international spread of disease".It has previously declared five global public health emergencies:

    Swine flu, 2009 -The H1N1 virus spread across the world in 2009, killing more than 200,000 people
    Polio, 2014 - Although closer than ever to eradication in 2012, polio numbers rose in 2013
    Zika, 2016 - The WHO declared Zika a public health emergency in 2016 after the disease spread rapidly through the Americas
    Ebola, 2014 and 2019 - The first emergency over the virus lasted from August 2014 to March 2016 as almost 30,000 people were infected and more than 11,000 died in West Africa. A second emergency was declared last year as an outbreak spread in DR Congo

    Media captionInside the US laboratory developing a coronavirus vaccine
    How is China handling the outbreak?
    A confirmed case in Tibet means the virus has reached every region in mainland China. According to the country's National Health Commission, 9,692 cases have tested positive.

    The central province of Hubei, where nearly all deaths have occurred, is in a state of lockdown. The province of 60 million people is home to Wuhan, the heart of the outbreak.

    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 are also being told to work from home until it is considered safe for them to return.

    The virus is affecting China's economy, the world's second-largest, with a growing number of countries advising their citizens to avoid all non-essential travel to the country.

    How is the world responding?
    Voluntary evacuations of hundreds of foreign nationals from Wuhan are under way.

    The UK, Australia, South Korea, Singapore and New Zealand are expected to quarantine all evacuees for two weeks to monitor them for symptoms and avoid any contagion.

    Coronavirus misinformation spreads online
    Diary of a life in locked-down Wuhan
    Virus evacuees criticise Australia quarantine plan
    Australia plans to quarantine its evacuees on Christmas Island, 2,000km (1,200 miles) from the mainland in a detention centre that has been used to house asylum seekers.

    Countries with diagnosed cases have been keeping patients in isolation. In other recent developments:

    Italy suspended flights to China after two Chinese tourists in Rome were diagnosed with the virus; earlier 6,000 people on board a cruise ship were temporarily barred from disembarking
    In the US, Chicago health officials have reported the first US case of human-to-human transmission. Around 200 US citizens have been flown out of Wuhan and are being isolated at a Californian military base for at least 72 hours
    Russia has decided to close its 4,300km (2,670-mile) far-eastern border with China
    Two flights to Japan have already landed in Tokyo. Three passengers have so far tested positive for the virus, Japanese media report
    Two aircraft are due to fly EU citizens home, with 250 French nationals leaving on the first flight
    India has confirmed its first case of the virus - a student in the southern state of Kerala who was studying in Wuhan.

    Cement mixers become celebrities in China lockdown
    By Kerry Allen
    BBC Monitoring
    3 hours ago
    Share this with Facebook Share this with Messenger Share this with Twitter Share this with Email Share
    Related TopicsCoronavirus outbreak
    Image copyrightSINA WEIBO/@万殆
    Image caption
    Forklifts and cement mixers have earned nicknames from their captive audience
    Unlikely heroes have arisen in China's coronavirus crisis - a group of construction vehicles building two new hospitals in the city of Wuhan, where the outbreak emerged.

    With all regions in the country affected by the virus, people have been told to stay indoors - except where absolutely necessary.

    Perhaps understandably, they are struggling to keep themselves entertained.

    So they're turning to livestreams of two hospitals being built - and have created characters and heroes on the building site.

    Skip Youtube post by New China TV

    Warning: Third party content may contain adverts
    Report
    End of Youtube post by New China TV
    The 25,000 square metre Huoshenshan Hospital in Wuhan will be ready by 2 February. The Leishenshan Hospital will be in use by 5 February.

    China's official CCTV broadcaster has been hosting livestreams so people can watch the hospitals being built in real-time - and they have proved an unlikely hit.

    Coronavirus declared global health emergency
    The Global Times newspaper says more than 40 million people have been watching the livestreams in China..

    And they've also proven popular overseas. Both YouTube and Periscope have been running livestreams for viewers outside the country, which are consistently bringing in hundreds of thousands of views.

    The popularity of this footage has led to the construction vehicles at the Huoshenshan Hospital earning unusual fame.

    Cement mixers have found themselves with nicknames like "The Cement King", "Big White Rabbit" and "The White Roller".

    A large flat-bed truck carrying construction supplies has affectionately been termed: "Brother Red Bull".

    Some of the diggers are given affectionate names based on their colour, such as "Little Yellow" and "Little Blue".

    Others have coined more imaginative names for the vehicles, with one cement mixer being named Song Huizong, after an ancient emperor.

    Image copyrightCCTV/WECHAT
    Image caption
    WeChat users have been voting on and ranking their favourite construction vehicle
    The official CCTV has set up an "epidemic 24/7" page built into mobile messenger WeChat, where users can vote for their favourite vehicle.

    The undipsuted stars of the show are the small, yellow forklift trucks, which are collectively known as "folkchan".

    Searches of "folkchan" on the popular Sina Weibo microblog bring up fan art and tributes to the little vehicles.

    Users call them "the cutest and most hard working little forklifts" and call them, "the loveliest little world guardians".

    The fans themselves have formed online fan groups, and collectively call themselves the "online overseers".

    Image copyrightSINA WEIBO
    Image caption
    The little forklifts are China's most beloved construction stars
    With much of the country in lockdown, it's perhaps not surprising that "alternative" entertainment has popped up.

    Transportation links have been suspended in a number of major cities, and companies throughout the country are suspending their opening hours.

    Arenas and cinemas have closed. On Tuesday, China's top regulator announced that it would be reducing entertainment TV programming "to strengthen publicity on epidemic prevention".

    Coronavirus Wuhan diary: Living alone in a city gone quiet
    Wuhan: The London-sized city where the virus began
    Coronavirus: How are patients treated?
    High engagement in the government's activities has obviously been a win for the Chinese Communist Party.

    But as Shi Wenxue, a teacher at the Beijing Film Academy told Global Times, the livestreams are helping people feel more involved in what is going on.

    "The 'overseers' participation shows young Chinese people's concern over the epidemic," Shi said, adding that it helps people feel they have "warriors in any battle situation".

     

    Wilbur Ross says Coronavirus could boost US jobs
    1 hour ago
    Share this with Facebook Share this with Messenger Share this with Twitter Share this with Email Share
    Related TopicsCoronavirus outbreak
    Image copyrightGETTY IMAGES
    US commerce secretary Wilbur Ross has said the deadly coronavirus outbreak in China could be positive for the American economy.

    During a TV interview Mr Ross said: "I think it will help to accelerate the return of jobs to North America".

    The rapid spread of the disease has raised fears about its impact on the Chinese economy and global growth.

    The comments have come under fire from critics of President Trump's administration.

    In response to a question on Fox Business News about whether the outbreak is a risk to the US economy Mr Ross said: "I don't want to talk about a victory lap over a very unfortunate, very malignant disease."

    "The fact is, it does give business yet another thing to consider when they go through their review of their supply chain... So I think it will help to accelerate the return of jobs to North America," he went on to say.

    Coronavirus: Technology giants join China shutdown
    Starbucks closes 2,000 China outlets due to virus
    Companies tell workers 'stay at home'
    Later the US Commerce Department echoed his comments: "As Secretary Ross made clear the first step is to bring the virus under control and help the victims of this disease."

    "It is also important to consider the ramifications of doing business with a country that has a long history of covering up real risks to its own people and the rest of the world," a spokesperson said.

    The remarks have been heavily criticised, with Democrat congressman Don Beyer taking to Twitter to question finding business advantages during the deadly outbreak.

    Skip Twitter post by @RepDonBeyer

    Rep. Don Beyer

    @RepDonBeyer
    Wilbur Ross’ reaction to a disease killing hundreds is to talk about ways to make money off it. Somehow they always find a way to be worse. https://twitter.com/atrupar/status/1222863896882679808

    Aaron Rupar

    @atrupar
    Secretary Wilbur Ross says coronavirus will be good for [checks notes] American jobs: "I think it will help to accelerate the return of jobs to North America."

    The new virus has now been declared a global emergency by the World Health Organization, as it continues to spread outside China. At least 213 people have died from the virus in China, and it has now spread to 18 other countries.

    Economists have said the new coronavirus could have a bigger impact on the world economy than the Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS) epidemic. SARS infected more than 8,000 people in 2002 and 2003, causing more than 700 deaths and is estimated to have cost the global economy more than $30bn.

    The coronavirus has forced global companies including tech giants, car makers and retailers to temporarily shut down in China as authorities imposed extended Lunar New Year and major travel restrictions across the country.

    Britons on evacuation flight home from Wuhan
    1 hour ago
    Share this with Facebook Share this with Messenger Share this with Twitter Share this with Email Share
    Related TopicsCoronavirus outbreak
    Image copyrightGETTY IMAGES
    Eighty-three Britons and 27 foreign nationals who were trapped in Wuhan - the Chinese city at the centre of the coronavirus outbreak - are on a flight back to the UK.

    The Foreign Office said medics are also on the flight, which is due to land at RAF Brize Norton at 13:00 GMT.

    On arrival, the UK passengers will be taken to Arrowe Park Hospital in the Wirral and quarantined for two weeks.

    The 27 foreign nationals - thought to be EU citizens - will fly on to Spain.

    Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab described the news as "welcome".

    "We know how distressing the situation has been for those waiting to leave," he said. "We have been working round the clock to clear the way for a safe departure."

    The flight was delayed by around three hours to allow as many UK and EU citizens as possible to get to the airport on time, amid a suspension of the city's public transport.

    The government initially estimated up to 150 Britons would be on the flight.

    Coronavirus declared global health emergency
    What coronavirus does to the body
    A visual guide to the outbreak
    Trump official: Coronavirus could boost US jobs
    The flight comes hours after the World Health Organization (WHO) declared an international public health emergency over the outbreak.

    The virus has caused 213 deaths in China - where there are now 9,962 confirmed cases - and spread to 18 other countries.

    As of Wednesday, 161 tests had been carried out on people across the UK - all with negative results.

    The UK's four chief medical officers have said they are raising the risk level from low to moderate.

    "This does not mean we think the risk to individuals in the UK has changed at this stage, but that government should plan for all eventualities," a joint statement said.

    They added that it was "likely" there would be "individual" cases of coronavirus in the UK.

    But they said they were confident the heath services would be able to protect the public and provide high quality care.

     

    Media captionDr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus: "We must all act together now to limit further spread"
    Passengers flying from Wuhan are being accompanied by a team of Ministry of Defence medics.

    Wirral West MP Margaret Greenwood said she was told by Health Secretary Matt Hancock that the government did not think any of the people being flown back from Wuhan would be carrying the virus.

    They will be put in "supported isolation" for 14 days with "all necessary medical attention", a Downing Street spokesman said.

    In other developments:

    Scotland's chief medical officer said a case of coronavirus was "highly likely" to be detected in the country in the coming days
    British Airways has extended its cancellation of services to mainland China until 29 February. Virgin Atlantic flights between Heathrow and Shanghai are continuing to operate as scheduled
    Downing Street said it was pressing Beijing to allow spouses or partners of UK nationals to be on the Wuhan flight

    Media captionJeff Siddle's wife will have to stay behind in Wuhan when he leaves with their daughter
    Most cases of coronavirus have emerged in people who have travelled from Wuhan.

    However, there have been eight cases of human-to-human infection - in Germany, Japan, Vietnam and the United States.

    The new virus has now infected more people in China than fell ill during the 2002-2003 severe acute respiratory syndrome (Sars) outbreak. The number of cases has jumped to 9,962, country's National Health Commission said, surpassing the 5,327 people diagnosed with Sars.

    However, the death toll is lower than the 348 people who died in China from Sars.

    How deadly is coronavirus?
    It is a basic question, but the answer is elusive.

    It is far too simplistic to take the 213 deaths and the 9,962 cases and come up with a death rate of 2%.

    We are in the middle of the outbreak and thousands of those patients are still being treated. We don't know if they will live or die, so they can't be used in these calculations.

    We also don't know how many mild and undetected cases are out there.

    Also, the deadliness of the new virus is only one component of its threat.

    Flu kills hundreds of thousands of people each year, not because it is super-deadly, but because it is able to infect so many people.

    The new coronavirus has been declared a global emergency by the World Health Organization, as the outbreak continues to spread outside China."The main reason for this declaration is not what is happening in China but what is happening in other countries," said WHO chief Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus.The concern is that it could spread to countries with weaker health systems.Meanwhile, the US has told its citizens not to travel to China.
    The State Department issued a level four warning - having previously urged Americans to "reconsider" travel to China - and said any citizens in China "should consider departing using commercial means".At least 213 people have died in China, with almost 10,000 cases of the virus.The WHO said there had been 98 cases in 18 other countries, but no deaths.Most international cases are in people who had been to the Chinese city of Wuhan, where the outbreak began.
    However, there have been eight cases of human-to-human infection - in Germany, Japan, Vietnam and the United States.Speaking at a news conference in Geneva, Dr Tedros described the virus as an "unprecedented outbreak" that has been met with an "unprecedented response".
    Coronavirus outbreak outside China
    18
    The number of countries with cases

    14Cases in Thailand

    11Japan

    10Singapore

    7Australia and Malaysia

    5France and USA

    He praised the "extraordinary measures" Chinese authorities had taken, and said there was no reason to limit trade or travel to China."Let me be clear, this declaration is not a vote of no confidence in China," he said.But various countries have taken steps to close borders or cancel flights, and companies like Google, Ikea, Starbucks and Tesla have closed their shops or stopped operations.The US Commerce Secretary, Wilbur Ross, has said the outbreak could "accelerate the return of jobs to North America".Preparing other countriesWhat happens if this virus finds its way into a country that cannot cope?Many low and middle income countries simply lack the tools to spot or contain it. The fear is it could spread uncontrollably and that it may go unnoticed for some time.Remember this is a disease which emerged only last month - and yet there are already almost 10,000 confirmed cases in China.The 2014 Ebola outbreak in West Africa - the largest in human history - showed how easily poorer countries can be overwhelmed by such outbreaks.And if novel coronavirus gets a significant foothold in such places then it would be incredibly difficult to contain.
    We are not at that stage yet - 99% of cases are in China and the WHO is convinced the country can control the outbreak there.But declaring a global emergency allows the WHO to support lower and middle income countries to strengthen their disease surveillance - and prepare them for cases.
    The WHO declares a Public Health Emergency of International Concern when there is "an extraordinary event which is determined… to constitute a public health risk to other states through the international spread of disease".It has previously declared five global public health emergencies:

    Swine flu, 2009 -The H1N1 virus spread across the world in 2009, killing more than 200,000 people
    Polio, 2014 - Although closer than ever to eradication in 2012, polio numbers rose in 2013
    Zika, 2016 - The WHO declared Zika a public health emergency in 2016 after the disease spread rapidly through the Americas
    Ebola, 2014 and 2019 - The first emergency over the virus lasted from August 2014 to March 2016 as almost 30,000 people were infected and more than 11,000 died in West Africa. A second emergency was declared last year as an outbreak spread in DR Congo

    Media captionInside the US laboratory developing a coronavirus vaccine
    How is China handling the outbreak?
    A confirmed case in Tibet means the virus has reached every region in mainland China. According to the country's National Health Commission, 9,692 cases have tested positive.

    The central province of Hubei, where nearly all deaths have occurred, is in a state of lockdown. The province of 60 million people is home to Wuhan, the heart of the outbreak.

    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 are also being told to work from home until it is considered safe for them to return.

    The virus is affecting China's economy, the world's second-largest, with a growing number of countries advising their citizens to avoid all non-essential travel to the country.

    How is the world responding?
    Voluntary evacuations of hundreds of foreign nationals from Wuhan are under way.

    The UK, Australia, South Korea, Singapore and New Zealand are expected to quarantine all evacuees for two weeks to monitor them for symptoms and avoid any contagion.

    Coronavirus misinformation spreads online
    Diary of a life in locked-down Wuhan
    Virus evacuees criticise Australia quarantine plan
    Australia plans to quarantine its evacuees on Christmas Island, 2,000km (1,200 miles) from the mainland in a detention centre that has been used to house asylum seekers.

    Countries with diagnosed cases have been keeping patients in isolation. In other recent developments:

    Italy suspended flights to China after two Chinese tourists in Rome were diagnosed with the virus; earlier 6,000 people on board a cruise ship were temporarily barred from disembarking
    In the US, Chicago health officials have reported the first US case of human-to-human transmission. Around 200 US citizens have been flown out of Wuhan and are being isolated at a Californian military base for at least 72 hours
    Russia has decided to close its 4,300km (2,670-mile) far-eastern border with China
    Two flights to Japan have already landed in Tokyo. Three passengers have so far tested positive for the virus, Japanese media report
    Two aircraft are due to fly EU citizens home, with 250 French nationals leaving on the first flight
    India has confirmed its first case of the virus - a student in the southern state of Kerala who was studying in Wuhan.

    Cement mixers become celebrities in China lockdown
    By Kerry Allen
    BBC Monitoring
    3 hours ago
    Share this with Facebook Share this with Messenger Share this with Twitter Share this with Email Share
    Related TopicsCoronavirus outbreak
    Image copyrightSINA WEIBO/@万殆
    Image caption
    Forklifts and cement mixers have earned nicknames from their captive audience
    Unlikely heroes have arisen in China's coronavirus crisis - a group of construction vehicles building two new hospitals in the city of Wuhan, where the outbreak emerged.

    With all regions in the country affected by the virus, people have been told to stay indoors - except where absolutely necessary.

    Perhaps understandably, they are struggling to keep themselves entertained.

    So they're turning to livestreams of two hospitals being built - and have created characters and heroes on the building site.

    Skip Youtube post by New China TV

    Warning: Third party content may contain adverts
    Report
    End of Youtube post by New China TV
    The 25,000 square metre Huoshenshan Hospital in Wuhan will be ready by 2 February. The Leishenshan Hospital will be in use by 5 February.

    China's official CCTV broadcaster has been hosting livestreams so people can watch the hospitals being built in real-time - and they have proved an unlikely hit.

    Coronavirus declared global health emergency
    The Global Times newspaper says more than 40 million people have been watching the livestreams in China..

    And they've also proven popular overseas. Both YouTube and Periscope have been running livestreams for viewers outside the country, which are consistently bringing in hundreds of thousands of views.

    The popularity of this footage has led to the construction vehicles at the Huoshenshan Hospital earning unusual fame.

    Cement mixers have found themselves with nicknames like "The Cement King", "Big White Rabbit" and "The White Roller".

    A large flat-bed truck carrying construction supplies has affectionately been termed: "Brother Red Bull".

    Some of the diggers are given affectionate names based on their colour, such as "Little Yellow" and "Little Blue".

    Others have coined more imaginative names for the vehicles, with one cement mixer being named Song Huizong, after an ancient emperor.

    Image copyrightCCTV/WECHAT
    Image caption
    WeChat users have been voting on and ranking their favourite construction vehicle
    The official CCTV has set up an "epidemic 24/7" page built into mobile messenger WeChat, where users can vote for their favourite vehicle.

    The undipsuted stars of the show are the small, yellow forklift trucks, which are collectively known as "folkchan".

    Searches of "folkchan" on the popular Sina Weibo microblog bring up fan art and tributes to the little vehicles.

    Users call them "the cutest and most hard working little forklifts" and call them, "the loveliest little world guardians".

    The fans themselves have formed online fan groups, and collectively call themselves the "online overseers".

    Image copyrightSINA WEIBO
    Image caption
    The little forklifts are China's most beloved construction stars
    With much of the country in lockdown, it's perhaps not surprising that "alternative" entertainment has popped up.

    Transportation links have been suspended in a number of major cities, and companies throughout the country are suspending their opening hours.

    Arenas and cinemas have closed. On Tuesday, China's top regulator announced that it would be reducing entertainment TV programming "to strengthen publicity on epidemic prevention".

    Coronavirus Wuhan diary: Living alone in a city gone quiet
    Wuhan: The London-sized city where the virus began
    Coronavirus: How are patients treated?
    High engagement in the government's activities has obviously been a win for the Chinese Communist Party.

    But as Shi Wenxue, a teacher at the Beijing Film Academy told Global Times, the livestreams are helping people feel more involved in what is going on.

    "The 'overseers' participation shows young Chinese people's concern over the epidemic," Shi said, adding that it helps people feel they have "warriors in any battle situation".

     

    Wilbur Ross says Coronavirus could boost US jobs
    1 hour ago
    Share this with Facebook Share this with Messenger Share this with Twitter Share this with Email Share
    Related TopicsCoronavirus outbreak
    Image copyrightGETTY IMAGES
    US commerce secretary Wilbur Ross has said the deadly coronavirus outbreak in China could be positive for the American economy.

    During a TV interview Mr Ross said: "I think it will help to accelerate the return of jobs to North America".

    The rapid spread of the disease has raised fears about its impact on the Chinese economy and global growth.

    The comments have come under fire from critics of President Trump's administration.

    In response to a question on Fox Business News about whether the outbreak is a risk to the US economy Mr Ross said: "I don't want to talk about a victory lap over a very unfortunate, very malignant disease."

    "The fact is, it does give business yet another thing to consider when they go through their review of their supply chain... So I think it will help to accelerate the return of jobs to North America," he went on to say.

    Coronavirus: Technology giants join China shutdown
    Starbucks closes 2,000 China outlets due to virus
    Companies tell workers 'stay at home'
    Later the US Commerce Department echoed his comments: "As Secretary Ross made clear the first step is to bring the virus under control and help the victims of this disease."

    "It is also important to consider the ramifications of doing business with a country that has a long history of covering up real risks to its own people and the rest of the world," a spokesperson said.

    The remarks have been heavily criticised, with Democrat congressman Don Beyer taking to Twitter to question finding business advantages during the deadly outbreak.

    Skip Twitter post by @RepDonBeyer

    Rep. Don Beyer

    @RepDonBeyer
    Wilbur Ross’ reaction to a disease killing hundreds is to talk about ways to make money off it. Somehow they always find a way to be worse. https://twitter.com/atrupar/status/1222863896882679808

    Aaron Rupar

    @atrupar
    Secretary Wilbur Ross says coronavirus will be good for [checks notes] American jobs: "I think it will help to accelerate the return of jobs to North America."

    The new virus has now been declared a global emergency by the World Health Organization, as it continues to spread outside China. At least 213 people have died from the virus in China, and it has now spread to 18 other countries.

    Economists have said the new coronavirus could have a bigger impact on the world economy than the Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS) epidemic. SARS infected more than 8,000 people in 2002 and 2003, causing more than 700 deaths and is estimated to have cost the global economy more than $30bn.

    The coronavirus has forced global companies including tech giants, car makers and retailers to temporarily shut down in China as authorities imposed extended Lunar New Year and major travel restrictions across the country.

    Britons on evacuation flight home from Wuhan
    1 hour ago
    Share this with Facebook Share this with Messenger Share this with Twitter Share this with Email Share
    Related TopicsCoronavirus outbreak
    Image copyrightGETTY IMAGES
    Eighty-three Britons and 27 foreign nationals who were trapped in Wuhan - the Chinese city at the centre of the coronavirus outbreak - are on a flight back to the UK.

    The Foreign Office said medics are also on the flight, which is due to land at RAF Brize Norton at 13:00 GMT.

    On arrival, the UK passengers will be taken to Arrowe Park Hospital in the Wirral and quarantined for two weeks.

    The 27 foreign nationals - thought to be EU citizens - will fly on to Spain.

    Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab described the news as "welcome".

    "We know how distressing the situation has been for those waiting to leave," he said. "We have been working round the clock to clear the way for a safe departure."

    The flight was delayed by around three hours to allow as many UK and EU citizens as possible to get to the airport on time, amid a suspension of the city's public transport.

    The government initially estimated up to 150 Britons would be on the flight.

    Coronavirus declared global health emergency
    What coronavirus does to the body
    A visual guide to the outbreak
    Trump official: Coronavirus could boost US jobs
    The flight comes hours after the World Health Organization (WHO) declared an international public health emergency over the outbreak.

    The virus has caused 213 deaths in China - where there are now 9,962 confirmed cases - and spread to 18 other countries.

    As of Wednesday, 161 tests had been carried out on people across the UK - all with negative results.

    The UK's four chief medical officers have said they are raising the risk level from low to moderate.

    "This does not mean we think the risk to individuals in the UK has changed at this stage, but that government should plan for all eventualities," a joint statement said.

    They added that it was "likely" there would be "individual" cases of coronavirus in the UK.

    But they said they were confident the heath services would be able to protect the public and provide high quality care.

     

    Media captionDr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus: "We must all act together now to limit further spread"
    Passengers flying from Wuhan are being accompanied by a team of Ministry of Defence medics.

    Wirral West MP Margaret Greenwood said she was told by Health Secretary Matt Hancock that the government did not think any of the people being flown back from Wuhan would be carrying the virus.

    They will be put in "supported isolation" for 14 days with "all necessary medical attention", a Downing Street spokesman said.

    In other developments:

    Scotland's chief medical officer said a case of coronavirus was "highly likely" to be detected in the country in the coming days
    British Airways has extended its cancellation of services to mainland China until 29 February. Virgin Atlantic flights between Heathrow and Shanghai are continuing to operate as scheduled
    Downing Street said it was pressing Beijing to allow spouses or partners of UK nationals to be on the Wuhan flight

    Media captionJeff Siddle's wife will have to stay behind in Wuhan when he leaves with their daughter
    Most cases of coronavirus have emerged in people who have travelled from Wuhan.

    However, there have been eight cases of human-to-human infection - in Germany, Japan, Vietnam and the United States.

    The new virus has now infected more people in China than fell ill during the 2002-2003 severe acute respiratory syndrome (Sars) outbreak. The number of cases has jumped to 9,962, country's National Health Commission said, surpassing the 5,327 people diagnosed with Sars.

    However, the death toll is lower than the 348 people who died in China from Sars.

    How deadly is coronavirus?
    It is a basic question, but the answer is elusive.

    It is far too simplistic to take the 213 deaths and the 9,962 cases and come up with a death rate of 2%.

    We are in the middle of the outbreak and thousands of those patients are still being treated. We don't know if they will live or die, so they can't be used in these calculations.

    We also don't know how many mild and undetected cases are out there.

    Also, the deadliness of the new virus is only one component of its threat.

    Flu kills hundreds of thousands of people each year, not because it is super-deadly, but because it is able to infect so many people.

     

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