On Thursday (February 27), world governments boosted precautionary and response efforts over a looming global pandemic of the coronavirus as the number of new infections outside China for the first time surpassed new cases in the country where the outbreak began.
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As per the latest update from the World Health Organization (WHO), there are at least 80,000 confirmed cases globally.
World Governments On Heightened Alert, Now Preparing Against Coronavirus Pandemic
In line with this, Australia has initiated emergency measures and Taiwan raised its epidemic response level to its highest, a day after U.S. President Donald Trump put his vice president, Mike Pence, in charge of the U.S. response to the looming global health crisis, as shared in a report by Reuters.
Accordingly, the United States and South Korea postponed joint military drills to limit the spread of the virus, which has emerged far beyond China, where it originated late last year, apparently in a market selling wildlife in the city of Wuhan.
For his part, Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison said his country, which has 23 cases of the virus, was operating based on a pandemic and hospitals were under orders to ensure enough medical supplies, personal protective equipment and staff.
Commenting on the situation, Morrison shared: “There is every indication that the world will soon enter a pandemic phase of the coronavirus.”
“As a result we have agreed today and initiated the … coronavirus emergency response plan,” the Australian Prime Minister explained.
Meanwhile, French President Emmanuel Macron called the outbreak a “crisis, an epidemic that is on the way.”
For the past six days, global markets have dropped, wiping out more than $3.6 trillion in value.
To date, the coronavirus has infected more than 80,000 people and killed nearly 2,800, the majority in China.
While there is much yet to be discovered about the virus, it is, however, clear that the ramifications of the world’s second-biggest economy in lockdown for a month or more are vast.
The rapid spread of the virus in recent days – notably in Italy, Iran and South Korea – has met the definition for a pandemic, and raised alarm.
While this being the case, the World Health Organization, has not used the word pandemic to describe this outbreak.
There is still no cure for the virus that can lead to pneumonia, and a vaccine may take up to 18 months to develop.
In Japan, a woman has tested positive for the virus for a second time, the first known person in the country to do so, raising new concern about it.
For their part, Japan has more than 190 cases and is facing questions about the Olympic Games, due to begin in Tokyo on July 24. In response to this, the government will ask schools to close from March 2 until around the end of the month, Prime Minister Shinzo Abe noted.
Meanwhile, the Philippines’ Health Secretary Francisco Duque III shared an update that at least 85 Filipinos abroad have tested positive with the 2019 coronavirus disease (COVID-19), majority of whom were from the Diamond Princess cruise ship in Japan, while two more were from United Arab Emirates. One is in Singapore, and two are in Hong Kong.