The World Health Organization said today that for the time being it will not categorize the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak a global pandemic, mainly because of the virus’ contained spread and lack of large-scale severe disease and deaths. WHO emphasized that countries should prioritize protecting health workers and communities most at risk of severe disease, such as the elderly and those with underlying health conditions.

Global cases stand at over 79,000, with nearly 2,600 deaths, mostly in China. Along with rapidly growing cases in Italy, South Korea and Iran, Lebanon and Israel have confirmed COVID-19 patients, WHO said. The State Department and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention raised travel alert warnings to Level 2 (exercise increased caution) for Japan and South Korea.

CDC’s Emerging Infectious Diseases journal today released a study showing potential presymptomatic transmission of SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19. According to the South China Morning Post, Chinese authorities are requiring a 14-day quarantine after patients recover because some recovered and released patients in Wuhan, China, tested positive for the virus.

To learn more about the novel coronavirus, join these upcoming webinars:

  • CDC webinar, with the American Health Lawyers Association and Association of Healthcare Emergency Preparedness Professionals, Feb. 25 at 1:30 p.m. ET on COVID-19 and health care provider legal preparedness. Register here.
  • National Ebola Training and Education Center and Office of the Assistant Secretary for Preparedness and Response webinar on highly pathogenic infectious disease training March 5 at 1:30 p.m. ET. Register here.

For the latest information and resources, visit AHA’s coronavirus webpage.

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