Coronavirus has been declared a global emergency by World Health Organization.

The WHO confirmed tonight that there are now 7834 confirmed cases of the virus worldwide, including 7736 in China. 

To date, there have been 170 deaths - all of them in China. 

The escalation comes as Scotland's Chief Medical Officer said she expects that Scotland's first case of coronavirus will be confirmed within days.

Speaking at a press conference in Geneva tonight, Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, director-general of the WHO, praised China's handling of the crisis, but added: "We don’t know what sort of damage this virus could do if it were to spread in a country with a weaker health system.

"We must act now to help countries prepare for that possibility."

It comes as around 200 British nationals prepare to return to the UK on a repatriation flight from Wuhan - the epicentre of the outbreak - on Friday.

The flight should land at RAF Brize Norton in Oxfordshire.

Passengers will then be taken to an NHS facility in the North West of England for a quarantine period of 14 days.

READ MORE: Government in talks with China over flying Britons back from Wuhan

Scotland's CMO Dr Catherine Calderwood also said she expects Scotland to confirm its first case of the virus within days.

Dr Calderwood said: "It is highly likely we’ll have a positive case of coronavirus in Scotland in the coming days.

"The public can be assured that Scotland has well established plans and is well prepared for these types of outbreak.

"We have a proven track record of dealing with challenging health issues and have established public health and infectious disease experts working round the clock.  

"We have also activated our emergency resilience operation.”

READ MORE: British Airways extends China flight cancellations

The circumstances surrounding the case are unclear, however the Scottish Government confirmed yesterday 16 people have so far returned negative results after being tested for the condition.