The coronavirus isn't yet "a global health emergency," but it's definitely an emergency in China.
The big picture: Coronavirus "has raised the specter of a repeat of the SARS epidemic" in 2002–03 that killed roughly 800 worldwide, the N.Y. Times reports.
- The death toll is now 18, including one man 600 miles from Wuhan.
- Major cities have canceled large public gatherings for the Lunar New Year holiday, the most important in the country.
- Multiple cities are on relative lockdown in hopes of containing the virus.
Why it matters: "Only five global public health emergency declarations have been made in the past. The decisions are fraught, with health authorities wary of causing panic, or of suggesting that governments cannot handle outbreaks on their own," per the Times.
- The World Health Organization declined to make this declaration today, and it will meet again in 10 days to determine whether to declare an emergency.
Between the lines: Some say the lack of a declaration of a Public Health Emergency of International Concern (PHEIC) may lessen international focus and funding needed to address a potential threat, but others worry that such a declaration could limit the travel and trade important to many people's livelihoods, Axios' Eileen Drage O'Reilly reports.