World Health Organization Declares Novel Coronavirus a Public Health Emergency

Coronavirus Health Update

The novel coronavirus outbreak has been declared a public health emergency of international concern by the World Health Organization.

The Declaration came after an emergency committee that reconvened Thursday in Geneva.

There are now 7711 confirmed and 12167 suspected cases throughout the country. Of the confirmed cases, 1370 are severe and 170 people have died. 124 people have recovered and been discharged from hospital.

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The WHO Secretariat provided an overview of the situation in other countries.

There are now 82 cases in 18 countries. Of these, only 7 had no history of travel in China. There has been human-to-human transmission in 3 countries outside China. One of these cases is severe and there have been no deaths.


The Committee welcomed the leadership and political commitment of the very highest levels of Chinese government authorities, their commitment to transparency, and the efforts made to investigate and contain the current outbreak. China quickly identified the virus and shared its sequence, so that other countries could diagnose it quickly and protect themselves, which has resulted in the rapid development of diagnostic tools.

The very strong measures the country has taken include daily contact with WHO and comprehensive multi-sectoral approaches to prevent further spread. It has also taken public health measures in other cities and provinces; is conducting studies on the severity and transmissibility of the virus and sharing data and biological material. The country has also agreed to work with other countries that need their support. The measures China has taken are good not only for that country but also for the rest of the world.

The Committee acknowledged the leading role of WHO and its partners.

In Canada Concern from First Nation Leadership

In Ontario, Indigenous people are raising concern over the possible impact coronavirus will have on their communities. For International readers, In Northern Ontario, a great number of Indigenous people live in remote communities that for most of the year are only accessible by air. During the winter for a brief period, winter roads built on the frozen rivers and lakes connect those communities.

Ontario Regional Chief Roseanne Archibald
Ontario Regional Chief Roseanne Archibald

Ontario Regional Chief RoseAnne Archibald states, “The Chiefs of Ontario Health staff are in contact with the Public Health Agency of Canada, FNIHB & the Office of the Chief Medical Officer of Health on the Novel Coronavirus emerging from Wuhan China — we are involved in daily updates. Our Chief Operating Officer, Tracy Antone is also ensuring that information is shared with our Leadership, Health Directors and community members.”

Nishnawbe Aski Nation Grand Chief Alvin Fiddler states, “There is a lot of information and misinformation that is spreading across social media regarding the Coronavirus. We take the health of our community members very seriously and released this information to the NAN Chiefs last evening.

“We will continue to closely monitor the situation and will provide regular updates when new information is available to us. If you have any concerns about your health, please go to your nursing station or contact Telehealth at 1-866-797-0000.”

Indigenous Services Canada was asked for a copy of the plan they have provided to Chiefs of Ontario but as of yet have not been able to supply that copy.


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