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People wearing masks walk at Hong Kong Station at Central district of Hong Kong, China, on Wednesday, January 29, 2020.

US confirms human-to-human infection; WHO meets

People wearing masks walk at Hong Kong Station at Central district of Hong Kong, China, on Wednesday, January 29, 2020.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reported the first case of human-to-human transmission of the coronavirus in the US, after a woman who travelled to China and had already been diagnosed infected her husband. Both patients are being closely monitored, the CDC said.

Passengers wearing protective masks walk through the arrival hall at West Kowloon Station in Hong Kong on Tuesday, January 28, 2020.

The World Health Organization will decide within hours whether to declare the outbreak of coronavirus an international public health emergency. The decision would broaden the world’s response to the Chinese epidemic. As confirmed cases in China have topped 8,000, nations are taking drastic measures to stop the virus’s spread.

Terminal subscribers can follow the WHO’s decision starting at 2:30PM in New York.

A woman in Chicago who had been diagnosed last week with the coronavirus infected her husband, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said Thursday, the first case of human-to-human transmission to occur in the US.

A Chinese woman wears a mask as she stands near the light of a police vehicle on regular duty at Beijing Railway station before the annual Spring Festival on January 21, 2020 in Beijing, China.

Both patients are in their 60s and are doing well while being kept in isolation, CDC officials said on the call. The agency said the virus is not spreading widely and that the risk to the US public remains low.

Disease experts are still trying to understand exactly how the virus spreads, and at what point after a person has become infected they become contagious. It’s also not clear, said CDC officials, how long a person has to be sick for before they will test positive. Both factors can present a challenge for public health workers who are keeping close tabs on contacts of people considered at risk.

The man and the woman had been in close contact, said the CDC, which appears to raise the risk of people becoming infected.

Two passengers wearing masks arrive at Beijing International Airport on January 20, 2020, ahead of the Lunar New Year.

UPDATE: Initial tests show no Coronavirus on Italy ship

Initial tests showed no coronavirus on a Carnival cruise ship that was blocked from leaving an Italian port. A 54-year-old woman from Macau had earlier demonstrated fever and respiratory symptoms. She has since been kept in isolation on board in the port of Civitavecchia, near Rome. Final results are expected later Thursday. Carnival Corp. stock pared declines to about two per cent in the US.