Between Jan. 20 and Jan. 23, experts from China and the Western Pacific convened in Wuhan to discuss and decide whether this outbreak constituted a public health emergency of international concern. It was on Jan. 30 that they came to the conclusion that this virus posed a global threat.
After holding many more meetings over January and February, the WHO would declare this outbreak as a global pandemic on March 11, 2020, stating that the disease had taken hold in many countries outside of the originating country of China.
Although there have been accusations that the WHO could have announced this as a global pandemic in mid-January, there is little to prop up their apparent failure to act promptly as this new strain is unprecedented and its transmission was swift.
Some have also claimed that China deliberately down played the initial outbreak, which in turn affected the WHO’s response.