WHO declares novel coronavirus (2019-nCoV acute respiratory disease) constitutes a public health emergency

News article

31 January 2020

Note: for the most recent information see our main novel coronavirus page.

The World Health Organization has declared the novel coronavirus (2019-nCoV acute respiratory disease) constitutes a public health emergency of international concern. 

This announcement, which was made at 8.30am today, endorses the approach taken by New Zealand to date.

The Ministry is already taking a precautionary approach to this outbreak. We are well prepared, this includes our system for early identification and management of cases and tracing of possible contacts.

The WHO's announcement formalises the high level of international cooperation already in place and further strengthens the global monitoring and reporting system.

It will enable the WHO to mobilise support for low income countries so they can respond in line with the WHO's evidence based advice and recommendations. 

The Ministry is taking this outbreak very seriously. We will continue to review our guidance and advice in light of the WHO announcement and will continue to update our website with the latest information:

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