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World Health Organization officials are holding a press conference Monday to update the public on the coronavirus outbreak, which has infected more that 89,100 people and killed at least 3,040 across the world.
Named COVID-19, the virus has shuttered commerce across China and is hitting company earnings. The virus has sent global stock markets falling, manufacturing has slowed as factories close their doors, and companies have been forced to cancel planned events around the world.
WHO officials said on Friday they were increasing the risk assessment of the coronavirus to “very high” at the global level. In January, it declared the virus a global health emergency, while urging the public against over-reacting to the virus. The organization has yet to classify the virus as a pandemic and has maintained that its attention is on containing the spread, although the virus has substantially moved beyond China and has now been found in nearly 60 countries.
Epidemics have emerged in Iran, Italy, And South Korea, where the number of cases is rapidly increasing. The U.S. recorded its first two deaths from the virus over the weekend and confirmed the first case in New York City on Sunday. Every country should prepare for its first case and no one should assume it won’t get any cases, Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, director-general of WHO, said last month.
“This is a reality check for every government on the planet: Wake up. Get ready. This virus may be on its way and you need to be ready. You have a duty to your citizens, you have a duty to the world to be ready,” said Dr. Mike Ryan, executive director of WHO’s health emergencies program, during a press conference on Friday.