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World Health Organization officials are holding a press conference Tuesday to update the public on the coronavirus outbreak, which has infected more than 80,200 and killed at least 2,704 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 the past week, the virus has spread substantially beyond China. The localized outbreaks in places such as Italy and Iran are fueling concerns among infectious disease experts and scientists that the virus is spreading too quickly and may be past the point of containment. Health officials are warning the public to prepare for a potential global pandemic.
On Monday, U.S. airlines said they would waive cancellation and change fees for travelers booked to South Korea as the coronavirus spreads beyond China, prompting a warning from government officials about travel there.
As the virus spreads, director-general of the WHO Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus is calling the international community to action before it’s too late.”The window of opportunity is still there, but our window of opportunity is narrowing,” he said on Friday. “We need to act quickly before it closes completely.”
There are currently no proven therapies for the virus and a vaccine will take at least a year to develop, health officials say.
Tedros said last week that preliminary results from two clinical trials testing potential treatments for COVID-19 are expected in three weeks.
The U.S. is planning a clinical trial of Gilead’s experimental drug, called remdesivir, for the novel coronavirus, according to a posting on a government clinical trials database.