The World Health Organization (WHO) has declared a global emergency after the death toll from the deadly coronavirus crossed 200-mark on Friday.
Earlier this week, the UN health agency had ruled out the possibility of declaring a global emergency, saying that the matter was not threatening enough.
At the time of the previous decision, the death toll was 17, which has now jumped to 213 with nearly 10,000 infections. At least 43 new deaths were reported on Friday alone.
WHO Chief, Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, announced the emergency.
Our greatest concern is the potential for the virus to spread to countries with weaker health systems. We must all act together now to limit further spread… We can only stop it together.
Tedros, however, downplayed the travel and trade restrictions with China to stem the spread of the virus, saying that such constraints were unnecessary.
Regardless of the WHO advisory, many countries have advised their citizens against traveling to China. Pakistan, one of the closest allies of China, has also suspended its flight operations with the country.
Pakistani authorities have also refused to evacuate its citizens trapped in Wuhan – the birthplace of the deadly virus– although four of its students have tested positive to the virus.
Assistant to Prime Minister on Health, Dr. Zafar Mirza, said on Thursday that the government has decided not to bring back the students to Pakistan, fearing that they could bring the deadly virus to the country.
We believe it’s in the interest of our loved-ones in China [to stay there]. It’s in the larger interest of the region, the world, and the country that we don’t evacuate them now.
Meanwhile, Japan has gifted coronavirus detection kits to Pakistan, which arrived at the National Health Institute (NIH) on Friday morning.