The World Health Organizations emergency committee will meet again to assess the global threat from the new coronavirus, the organizations leader said on Jan. 29.
Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said the committee would meet on Thursday to advise him on whether the coronavirus outbreak constitutes a public health emergency of international concern.
He noted that most confirmed cases are in China but that three countries have recorded person-to-person transmission outside of China.
“This potential for further global spread is why I called the” emergency committee,” Ghebreyesus said in a statement. “Most cases reported outside are in people with a travel history from China, or have been in contact with people who have been there. But there are some signs of person-to-person transmission outside China.”
German officials said this week that a 33-year-old man got the coronavirus from a female colleague from Shanghai. Three other workers were later isolated. Taiwan and Japan also reported cases of human-to-human transmission among non-relatives.
Other transmissions between people included a father infecting his son in Vietnam and the man possibly infecting his relatives, who were in Malaysia.
“Make no mistake. This is an emergency in China, but it has not yet become a global health emergency,” Ghebreyesus said at a news conference announcing the decision.
Since then, cases have popped up in more countries, with over a dozen now having at least one patient that tested positive. Some countries have seen a growing number of cases. Australia reported its sixth and seventh cases on Wednesday and Singapore reported three new cases, bringing the total to 10.