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Escalating Outbreak Heaps Pressure on World Health Watchdog

  • WHO Emergency Committee to meet Thursday, director says
  • Rising toll of illness and deaths pushing agency to act
Health officials check the body temperature of passengers at the Mutiara SIS Al Jufri airport in Palu, Central Sulawesi on Jan. 29.

Health officials check the body temperature of passengers at the Mutiara SIS Al Jufri airport in Palu, Central Sulawesi on Jan. 29.

Photographer: Muhammad Rifki/AFP via Getty Images
Updated on

Pressure is rising on global health officials debating whether to sound an international alarm as the spread of the new coronavirus in countries outside China adds to a soaring case count.

After the World Health Organization stopped short of declaring a worldwide emergency last week, the rising toll of illness and deaths may push it to take action, and even recommend restrictions on trade and travel aimed at curbing spread of the illness.