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Wuhan coronavirus outbreak declared global public health emergency

The World Health Organization says their greatest concern is the potential for the virus to spread to countries that are ill-prepared to deal with it.

The World Health Organization has declared a public health emergency over the global outbreak of Wuhan coronavirus. 

The WHO announcement comes hours after China said the death toll from the new virus has risen to 170. 

The Director General of the WHO, Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, said the main reason for the declaration is not because of what's happening in China, but because of what is happening in other countries. 

He added that their greatest concern "is the potential for the virus to spread to countries with weaker health systems, and which are ill-prepared to deal with it." 

In total, there have now been 7,834 confirmed cases, with 99% of those occurring in China, health officials said. 

"We must remember that these are people, not numbers," Dr. Tedros added. The WHO called on countries to implement prevention measures that are evidence-based and consistent, but added there is no reason for measures that unnecessarily interfere with international travel and trade. 

World health officials previously expressed “great concern” that the disease is starting to spread between people outside of China. The 195 Americans evacuated from Wuhan, the city of 11 million where the outbreak originated, are undergoing three days of testing and monitoring at a Southern California military base to make sure they do not show signs of the virus.

Meanwhile, a passenger plane leaving from Portugal will evacuate about 350 Europeans from the area. The plane's captain, Antonios Efthymiou, told the Associated Press the flight was "a humanitarian mission." 

Russia closed its border with China as a precaution according to Russia's state-run TASS news agency.

In Italy, Italian health authorities screened passengers aboard a cruise ship docked North of Rome. The Costa Crociere cruise line told Italian state media a 54-year-old woman and her partner were put in isolation after the woman reported flu-like symptoms. Thousands of passengers were being kept on board as health professionals determine whether anyone has the virus.

In South Korea, residents of two cities where quarantine facilities are being prepared protested government plans to isolate 700 South Koreans evacuees from China in their neighborhoods. France, New Zealand, Australia and others are also pulling out their citizens. 

India's health ministry says it has detected its first case of the novel coronavirus in the southern state of Kerala. A student who had been studying at Wuhan University tested positive for the virus. Passengers who have traveled to China recently are being screened for symptoms in at least 20 Indian airports.  

The Philippines has confirmed its first case -- a 38-year-old Chinese woman had traveled to the Philippines from Wuhan, China, via Hong Kong on Jan. 21.

Korean Air says it will cut or suspend some of its flights to mainland China starting on Sunday as demands decrease amid a growing coronavirus crisis.

South Korean police say protesters have thrown plastic water bottles and paper cups at the country's vice health minister to oppose plans to quarantine Wuhan evacuees in their neighborhood.

Shares fell sharply in Europe and Asia Thursday as concern over the impact of the virus deepens.Taiwan's benchmark dived 5.8% as its market reopened Thursday after the Lunar New Year. Shares fell in Paris, London, Tokyo and Hong Kong. Overnight, Dow Jones futures plummeted 168 points.

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