By Peter Kenny
GENEVA (AA) - The World Health Organization (WHO) said Thursday that now is not the time to declare a new virus that emerged in China a global health emergency.
Addressing a press conference after the committee meeting in Geneva, WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said the emergency committee on the novel coronavirus met and there was again "split" over the decision as on the previous day.
“Make no mistake this an emergency in China, but it has not yet become a global emergency. It may become one,” Tedros said.
A total of 571 people have been infected with a new coronavirus, with 17 deaths, in China. It is similar to the virus related to severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS).
Airport and train stations in China's central Wuhan city where the virus originated were closed to outgoing passengers Thursday while public transportation suspended in the city.
As of Wednesday, the virus was detected in one person in Hong Kong and Macao Chinese special administrative regions each.
The virus was also confirmed in the U.S., Japan, South Korea, Thailand, Singapore, and Saudi Arabia.