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World Health Organization officials are holding a press conference Friday to update the public on the coronavirus outbreak, which has infected more than 83,700 and killed at least 2,859 across the world so far.
Named COVID-19, the virus has shuttered commerce across much of China and is hitting company earnings, global stock markets and manufacturing across the world. WHO officials declared the virus a global health emergency last month, while urging the public against over-reacting to the virus.
In recent weeks, the virus has spread substantially beyond China and is now circulating in over 44 countries across the world, WHO’s director-general Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said Thursday. Epidemics have emerged in Iran, Italy and South Korea, where the number of cases are rapidly rising every day.
“We’re at a decisive point,” Tedros told reporters on Thursday. “The epidemics in the Islamic Republic of Iran, Italy and the Republic of Korea demonstrate what this virus is capable of.”
Mexico’s Health Ministry confirmed the country’s first cases of the virus on Friday, marking the second and third confirmed case in South America after Brazil, which confirmed its first case Thursday. The virus is now present in five continents. Every country should prepare for the arrival of the virus, Tedros warned.
“Every country must be ready for its first case,” Tedros said Thursday. “No country should assume it won’t get cases. That could be a fatal mistake. This virus does not respect borders.”