Chinese planes to bring overseas Wuhan citizens back to virus-hit city

Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus Director General of the World Health Organization

The Japanese Foreign Ministry on Friday urged its citizens not to travel to China because of the possibility of the further spread of a new virus. The vast majority of the cases have been in Hubei province and its provincial capital, Wuhan, the epicenter of the outbreak.

The State Department's travel advisory told Americans now in China to consider departing using commercial means, and requested that all non-essential US government personnel defer travel "in light of the novel coronavirus".

The White House has said it is considering further restrictions on USA airlines flying to China, in addition to the voluntary restrictions implemented by some air carriers.

China counted 9,692 confirmed cases with a death toll of 213, including 43 new fatalities.

Even as the World Health Organization said cases had spread to 18 countries, Italy announced its first confirmed cases, in two Chinese tourists.

The CDC said none of the 195 American passengers evacuated Wednesday from Wuhan show symptoms of coronavirus.

World Health Organization declared on Friday an worldwide emergency over the spread of deadly novel coronavirus from China to various parts of the globe. Some commercial airlines and cruise lines have already suspended routes to and from China.

The bottom line: The coronavirus has upended the lives of many Chinese citizens, and it warrants a strong public-health response.

South Korea confirmed its sixth case of the deadly novel coronavirus which emerged last month in the city of Wuhan in China

In other global developments, China's surge of cases continues, India and the Philippines reported their first cases, and a handful of affected countries reported more cases, a lot of them linked to travel, but a few involving local transmission.

"WHO continues to have confidence in China's capacity to control the outbreak", Zhang said, in quoting Tedros, and said "there is no reason for measures that unnecessarily interfere with global travel and trade". Authorities discharged 26 patients from hospital in the province on Thursday.

China's United Nations ambassador, Zhang Jun, said Beijing was assessing the declaration.

She works for a pharmaceutical company and said she wears the mask out of concern for the coronavirus.

Pakistan, for its part, has signaled it will follow a different course, with the country's special assistant to the prime minister on health, Dr. Zafar Mirza, stating "If we act irresponsibly and start evacuating people from there, this epidemic will spread all over the world like wildfire". At least 20 countries beyond China have confirmed cases. The two countries begin to screen anyone arriving from Wuhan.

The first confirmed case of novel coronavirus in India was reported in Kerala on Thursday.

Novel coronavirus belongs to the coronavirus family that causes illnesses ranging from the common cold to acute respiratory syndromes.

The patient is a student at Wuhan University, China.

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