First person-to-person Coronavirus case confirmed in US

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The Centre for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) in the United States says it has confirmed the first case of person to person transmission of the Coronavirus.

The latest case in Chicago, Illinois is the spouse of the first confirmed case in the city, who was diagnosed last week.

The husband of the woman who was diagnosed with the virus is the latest confirmed case but unlike his wife, did not travel to Wuhan, China but was rather infected on her return to the United States.

The CDC also says that while there are now six confirmed cases of the coronavirus in the country, there are at least 21 people under investigation in the State of Illinois alone while a total of 165 cases are being monitored throughout the country.

The agency also confirmed that 195 US citizens were flown back from the epicentre of the virus in the city of Wuhan, central China and are now voluntarily isolated at an airbase in California.

None being held there have thus far tested positive for the virus.

The State Department has indicated that it is planning an additional evacuation flight for U.S. citizens from China in early February.

Meanwhile, the World Health Organisation (WHO) has declared that the coronavirus epidemic now constitutes a public health emergency of international concern.

The WHO announced the decision on Thursday night after a meeting of its Emergency Committee, essentially an independent panel of experts, amid mounting evidence of the virus spreading to some 18 countries.

The move follows a similar meeting of the same committee a week earlier when there was a decision against the declaration.