World Health Organization holds press conference on the coronavirus outbreak

World Health Organization holds press conference on the coronavirus outbreak

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World Health Organization officials are holding a press conference Thursday to update the public on the coronavirus outbreak, which has killed more people than the 2003 SARS epidemic.

As of Thursday, more than 60,000 cases of coronavirus have been reported in over two dozen countries, resulting in least 1,300 deaths, almost exclusively in China. The WHO declared the virus a global health emergency last month, a rare designation that helps the international agency mobilize financial and political support to contain the outbreak.

The number of new cases of COVID-19 appeared to be stabilizing until Thursday, when a change in China’s methodology for determining the disease led to a spike in confirmed cases in Hubei province, the epicenter of the outbreak. 

Health authorities in Hubei said Thursday that “clinically diagnosed” cases now count toward the “confirmed case” count. The change was made so a broader set of patients can receive the same treatment as someone with a confirmed case, according to a CNBC translation of the official announcement in Chinese.

WHO officials said Tuesday the decision to revise how to define a case is normal.

“It’s normal, during the course of an outbreak to adapt the case definition because we need to be very close to the reality to monitor the disease, how it is unfolding,” said Dr. Sylvie Briand, WHO’s director of infectious hazards.

To see the latest updates on the coronavirus, visit CNBC’s live updates here.

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