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World Health Organization responds to coronavirus January 28,2020   |  Source: NPR

NPR's Michel Martin speaks with public health scholar Kelley Lee about the World Health Organization's response to the coronavirus outbreak.


Staying on the topic of the coronavirus outbreak, the outbreak is believed to have started in Wuhan, China. And in response, the Chinese government has put entire cities on lockdown, and a number of travel bans are in place. But despite the growing number of infections and deaths, the World Health Organization decided to hold off on declaring this an emergency of international concern.

And this made us wonder about how the World Health Organization determines what counts as an emergency. And we also wondered whether powerful countries like China are able to influence these policies and procedures. So we've called on Kelley Lee to help us understand what's going on. She is a professor of global health governance at Simon Fraser University in Canada. She has worked as a consultant for the World Health Organization.

Professor Lee, thank you so much for joining us.

KELLEY LEE: Pleasure.

MARTIN: So, before we get into the specifics of the coronavirus, can you tell us what you make of the World Health Organization's decision to not declare this as an emergency of global concern? Does that seem right to


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