(WHO live press conference)

The World Health Organization (WHO) has declared a global health emergency after the novel coronavirus spread from China to over a dozen other countries.

The Director-General of WHO, Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, announced his declaration of the public health emergency at an Emergency Committee meeting on Thursday afternoon.

According to the international health authority, there are now 98 cases of novel coronavirus in 18 countries outside China, including eight cases of human-to-human transmission in four countries.

See also: British Columbia’s first case of Coronavirus confirmed in Vancouver region

In Canada there are three cases of confirmed coronavirus, one of which was recorded in Vancouver.

Thus far, there have been no deaths related to the disease outside China. However in China, the death toll has risen to 170.

“Our greatest concern is the potential for the virus to spread to countries with weaker health systems, and which are ill-prepared to deal with it,” reads one tweet from WHO.

In total, there are now 7,834 confirmed cases of coronavirus around the world, 7,736 of which are in China.

Many of the initial cases have been linked to the Huanan Seafood Market (also known as Wuhan South China Seafood City and South China Seafood Wholesale Market), which was closed on January 1st for disinfection following the outbreak.

The vast majority of the cases detected outside China either have travel history to Wuhan or came into contact with someone else who had travelled to the city.

On Wednesday, Air Canada announced the suspension of all direct flights to China until February 29th in light of the outbreak.