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China Vows It Can Control Virus Spread As WHO Declares International Emergency

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China Vows It Can Control Virus Spread As WHO Declares International Emergency

Map by the New York Times. Click to see full-size image.

On January 31st, Chinese foreign ministry spokesperson Hua Chunying vowed that China could control the coronavirus epidemic.

This followed an announcement by the World Health Organization that said the novel coronavirus outbreak has become a Public Health Emergency of International Concern (PHEIC), an international emergency.

“Since the outbreak of the novel coronavirus epidemic, the Chinese government has been taking the most comprehensive and rigorous prevention and control measures with a high sense of responsibility for people’s health,” Hua said, adding that many of these measures go well beyond the requirements of the International Health Regulations. “We have full confidence and capability to win this fight against the epidemic.”

Beijing said there are at least 9,692 people confirmed to have the infection, which has spread from Wuhan’s Hubei province to every one of China’s 31 provinces.

The death toll reached 213, and approximately 102,000 people are under observation with possible symptoms.

Significantly, the US and South Korea both confirmed their first cases of human-to-human transmissions of the coronavirus.

Russia closed its land border with China to prevent the spread of the virus.

Russian Prime Minister Mikhail Mishustin has ordered the closure of the country’s Far East border to prevent the spread of the deadly coronavirus.

“The order was signed today and has taken effect,” Mishustin said. “We’ll inform everyone today about the border-closure measures in the Far East region and other activities taken by the Russian government [on coronavirus prevention],” he said.

More countries and airlines are halting their flights to China, including France in their entirety. Kenya Airway and Rwandair suspended all flights to China. Turkish Airlines suspended its China routes.

The US warned Americans not to travel to China, as the American Airlines pilots union filed a case to stop all travel to China.

“Do not travel to China due to novel coronavirus first identified in Wuhan, China. On January 30, the World Health Organization has determined the rapidly spreading outbreak constitutes a Public Health Emergency of International Concern. Travelers should be prepared for travel restrictions to be put into effect with little or no advance notice.  Commercial carriers have reduced or suspended routes to and from China.”

“Those currently in China should consider departing using commercial means,” the department said in the advisory.

Meanwhile, Italy confirmed its first case of the virus and Germany its 5th.

The International Monetary Fund is monitoring the crisis as economic tensions appear to be growing.

The economic tensions and fluctuations are leading to speculation that China is purchasing shares in tech companies to spread its influence, as it claims that completely dealing with the rapidly spreading coronavirus is just a matter of time.

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