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The World Health Organization declared on Thursday that the new coronavirus outbreak was a global health emergency, acknowledging that the disease represents a risk outside of China, where it emerged last month.

The declaration — officially called a Public Health Emergency of International Concern — serves notice to all United Nations member states that the world’s top health advisory body rates the situation as serious.

Countries can then decide whether to close their borders, cancel flights, screen people arriving at airports or take other measures.

The decision came as cases have begun to appear  in people who had not traveled to China during the outbreak.

New York Times

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