The World Health Organization will convene an emergency committee meeting later this week to discuss the recent outbreak of coronavirus in China, the organization announced Monday.
At that meeting on Wednesday, the WHO said their International Health Regulations Emergency Committee will determine whether the outbreak constitutes a “public health emergency of international concern” and what recommendations should be made to manage it.
There have been 222 cases of the virus reported worldwide, mostly in Wuhan, China, with a handful in neighbouring countries like Thailand and Japan.
Chinese officials confirmed Monday that the virus can be transmitted between humans. Three deaths have been reported so far.
Declaring a public health emergency of international concern enables the WHO to recommend measures that should be taken within the country or by other countries, to reduce the spread of disease, according to the WHO website.
This virus, which has symptoms such as fever and difficulty breathing, belongs to the same family of viruses as Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS), which killed nearly 800 people during a 2002-03 outbreak.
A handful of Canadian and U.S. airports have already begun screening passengers from Wuhan for signs of illness.
—With files from Reuters