17 dead as city halts train, air traffic

The head of the World Health Organization said Wednesday its emergency committee needed more information before it was ready to declare the deadly global coronavirus virus outbreak a public health emergency, even as the hard-hit Chinese city of Wuhan shut down all air and train traffic to try to contain its spread.

The death toll from a new global virus rose to at least 17 on Wednesday while experts from around the world were meeting in Geneva to debate how to address the ominous outbreak.

WHO director-general Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus called the issue an “evolving and complex situation” that required further study.

While praising China’s cooperation in presenting information about the virus, the WHO leader called for more debate on Thursday.

“The decision about whether or not to declare a public health emergency of international concern is one I take extremely seriously, and one I am only prepared to make with appropriate consideration of all the evidence,” he said.

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