World Health Organization holds press conference on coronavirus outbreak

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World Health Organization officials are holding a press conference at 10 a.m. ET to update the public on the new coronavirus outbreak.

As of Thursday, more than 28,000 cases of coronavirus have been reported, resulting in at least 565 deaths. The WHO declared the virus a global health emergency last week, a rare designation that helps the international agency mobilize financial and political support to contain the outbreak.

WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said Wednesday that the number of confirmed cases grew by more than 3,100 over the previous 24 hours, which he said was “the most cases in a single day since the outbreak started” on Dec. 31. However, he emphasized that the overwhelming majority of cases are in China, and of those, 80% are in Hubei province, where the virus was first detected in the city of Wuhan.

“Our greatest concern is about the potential for spread in other countries with weaker health systems and who lack the capacity to detect and diagnose the virus,” he said. “We’re only as strong as the weakest link.”

“We cannot defeat this outbreak without solidarity. Political solidarity, technical solidarity, and financial solidarity,” he continued.

Tedros also announced Wednesday that the WHO is requesting $675 million to fund its “strategy preparedness and response plan” for the next three months. He said the WHO has already tapped $9 million of funding from its contingency fund for emergencies.


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