Coronavirus not yet 'emergency' outside China, WHO says

Lunar New Year celebrations in Beijing 2010More

Lunar New Year celebrations in Beijing 2010More

The capital Beijing cancelled major public events, including two well-known Lunar New Year temple fairs, the state-run Beijing News said.

Chinese state media quoted Wuhan's special disease command center as saying that the quarantine measures are meant to "effectively cut off the virus spread, resolutely curb the outbreak and guarantee the people's health and safety".

Following a congressional briefing by health officials, Republican U.S. Senator John Barrasso, a former physician, said people in the United States with the virus may have been infected up to 14 days ago in China. Previous global emergencies have been declared for the emergence of Zika virus in the Americas, the swine flu pandemic, and polio. The declaration can increase resources to fight a threat but that can also cause trade and travel restrictions and other economic damage, making the decision politically fraught.

Public heath experts gathered by the United Nations agency to review the situation were split over whether they should recommend declaring a public health crisis of worldwide concern and instead opted to continue monitoring the outbreak.

In 2014, World Health Organization resisted declaring the devastating Ebola epidemic in West Africa to be a global emergency because it feared the announcement would anger Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone.

Trying to cope with coronavirus transmission, the Chinese government put on quarantine Wuhan - a city of 11 million people, where the virus originated.

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The travel hub receives over 430 flights from China every week. Majority are inside China, but several have been reported in Japan, South Korea, Thailand, Singapore, Vietnam, and the United States, he said.

According to the embassy, Chinese authorities have assured all assistance to residents of Wuhan, including food supply. It said this marks the first such cases in Vietnam.

On Thursday, a Texas A&M student who had recently traveled to Wuhan, China was examined for a suspected case of coronavirus, The New York Times reported. Officials have said the current outbreak likely began at an animal and seafood market in Wuhan.

In a report on Wednesday, Imperial College London said it estimated a total of 4,000 cases of the coronavirus in Wuhan alone as of January 18, an infection rate based on the number of cases reported in China and elsewhere.

The first death was confirmed outside Hubei, but the vast majority of cases around China and overseas still have ties to Wuhan, the Hubei provincial capital where the illnesses began last month.

The man is now quarantined in a hospital outside of Seattle.

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Officials say they will announce whether the case is confirmed.

Another, an 80-year-old woman surnamed Hu, had Parkinson's Disease and more than 20 years of high blood pressure and diabetes in her medical history.

At least 17 people have died in China as a result of the illness, with hundreds more cases confirmed.

Wuhan's train station and airport, which should have been packed with people travelling for holiday family reunions, were nearly empty Thursday. Only travelers holding tickets for the last trains were allowed to enter, with those booked for later trains being turned away.

People wear protective masks in Beijing on Thursday.

Additionally, all public transportation within the city would be suspended, including buses, subways and ferries.

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Other cities were also taking steps to restrict movement and contact.

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