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The World Health Organization is holding a briefing Wednesday to address the mysterious coronavirus that has killed at least 17 people and sickened hundreds of others in China. The briefing was originally scheduled for 1 p.m. ET but was later delayed an hour.
WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus is expected to confirm whether the virus constitutes a global health emergency and to make recommendations on how to contain the outbreak.
The briefing follows an emergency meeting of international health experts in Geneva to discuss the virus earlier Wednesday.
Health officials on Tuesday confirmed the first U.S. case of the virus and earlier in the week said the respiratory illness, which has evoked memories of the 2003 outbreak of severe acute respiratory syndrome, or SARS, is capable of spreading from person to person.
Over the weekend, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the Department of Homeland Security began screening people traveling to the United States from Wuhan, China, where the outbreak is believed to have started.
WHO doesn't enact these emergencies easily, said Lawrence Gostin, a professor and faculty director of the O'Neill Institute for National and Global Health Law at Georgetown University. The international health agency has only applied the emergency designation five times since the rules were implemented in the mid-2000s.