Coronavirus Declared a ‘Public Health Emergency of International Concern’ (PHEIC) by WHO

DCW50 News

by Joseph Olmo

Earlier today, the World Health Organization in an emergency committee meeting decided to change course and declared that the coronavirus epidemic is now an international public health emergency, mainly because of the increased risk it represents beyond China, where the virus was first discovered in December 2019.


More than 7,384 cases of the virus have been confirmed, mostly in China where the epidemic is growing at a rapid pace. Just yesterday, China confirmed over 1,900 new cases while the virus has spread to more than a dozen countries. All 170 deaths caused by the virus have occurred in China.


One factor that made the virus a PHEIC was from the news earlier today that the Untied States confirmed a sixth U.S. case of the virus – making it the first time that the virus has been transmitted from person to person in the United States.


So, what does a PHEIC designation mean? Basically, it allows the World Health Organization to mobilize both financial and political support to control the outbreak.


Currently in Washington D.C., there have been 3 patients tested for coronavirus. 1 patient has tested negative, while two others are still waiting for results.


A growing number of airlines, now 34, have canceled or reduced flights to China. United Airlines has already suspended most of its daily flights between the U.S. and China amid the spread of coronavirus. In Italy, nearly 6,000 tourists are in lockdown on a cruise ship after a passenger presented symptoms similar to those of the virus. All passengers and an additional 1,000 crewmembers are prevented from leaving until the woman was determined.


In Maryland, one possible case of the virus tested negative, and in Virginia, two possible cases tested negative and two more cases in Northern Virginia are still pending.



For updated testing information in Maryland, click here. For updated testing information in Virginia, click here. For updated testing information in Washington D.C., click here


Joseph Olmo is a bilingual multimedia freelance journalist in the Washington D.C. metro area. He is a digital storyteller and content writer for DCW50. He also contributes to a health program aired on the Telemundo 44 network, in addition to reporting on Capitol Hill for networks in Central America.

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