efe-epaSydney, Australia

The Australian government on Thursday announced the activation of an emergency plan in the event of a COVID-19 pandemic following an increase in patients infected with the virus outside China.

"We believe risk of global pandemic is very much upon us and as a result, as a government, we need to take the steps necessary to prepare for such a pandemic," Prime Minister Scott Morrison said in a televised press conference from Canberra. EFE-EPA