Its Director-General, Tedros Ghebreyesus, made the declaration on Thursday following the emergency committee meeting which was reconvened to determine the status of the disease.
The coronavirus, which was first detected in Wuhan in December, has spread to all the cities in China and beyond.
As at the time of declaration, more than 7700 cases have been confirmed, and 170 people have died in China.
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Also an 82 additional cases were confirmed in 18 countries.
WHO, in a statement released via its website immediately after the emergency meeting, said the members of the committee had all agreed that the disease has attained a status global threat.
Mr Ghebreyesus made the announcement after the second meeting of the Emergency Committee convened under the International Health Regulations (IHR) (2005) regarding the outbreak of novel coronavirus.
Author: Ayodamola Owoseye